2007-02-21 / Editorial

Bee Editorial

Get your shovel and get to work

Residents shouldn't need a reminder as to why they should shovel their sidewalks, but as the complaints to the town continue to come in, it's apparent that some do.

Driving through Amherst the past few days we found many areas were clear, passable and most importantly, safe. Many residents and business owners have stepped up to remove the snow that makes the area famous - or infamous - depending on who you ask.

Roadways, even side streets, are attended to in a timely manner to make your travels through town as safe as possible. Businesses, schools and municipalities with parking lots responded to the Valentine's Day storm in what we consider a timely manner.

But many areas with sidewalks, especially less trafficked areas, fell behind. Some spots appeared to be untouched since the recent snowfalls, as the area where a sidewalk should be was as full of snow as the abutting lawn.

Even if a sidewalk doesn't lead to a corner store, a school or a business, homeowners need to keep their walks free of snow and ice. Dog owners don't just live near highly populated areas, and they walk their pets near their homes. They shouldn't be forced into the roadway. Also, someone wanting some fresh air or escaping cabin fever deserves the right to a shoveled walk.

Unfortunately, this area experienced a fatal accident a few years ago when young people were forced to walk in the roadway because of impassable sidewalks.

It shouldn't take a disaster to grab the attention of irresponsible residents. We encourage everyone to take a look around their property to make sure they have done their part before pointing a finger at others.

Homes around schools need to be especially diligent. Although the town code requires cleanup within 24 hours of a snowfall, those students are trekking to school as early as 6:30 a.m. when the sky is still dim and drivers may not see a child walking in the street. Clean your sidewalks as soon as possible to avoid an unnecessary accident.

It is obvious that this is a problem around town, and if you notice a location that continues to be a hazard bring it to the attention of the Building Department by calling 631-7080.

The Amherst Youth Board has a program called Youth Works, where teens will shovel sidewalks and driveways for residents who need help. The program is designed to help the students earn money for their work. To request the service, call 631-7217.

This year, the problem has only been an annoyance, not a tragedy. But you must do your part and shovel. Keep sidewalks clear.

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