|See that dark spec next to the rectangular part of the yellow sign? That's a pedestrian.|
I am somewhat fortunate in that I live in a city that does make efforts to clear off several sidewalks and bike paths for Wintertime passage of cyclists and walkers. However; the city adjacent to where I live does not do this, and its mayor was quoted recently as saying that this particular city "could not afford to do that" (meaning take care of plowing off the broad cycle/ped ways that run through various parts of this city.)
Okay, this is a sad state of affairs when a city cannot afford to provide safe passage through its own system of transportation for its citizens, no matter if they are in a car, or if they walk, or if they cycle. It's not going to fly very well if, say, the City decides that "Elm Avenue" (fictitious street to serve as an example here) cannot be cleared because, well, the City cannot afford to do that. Can you imagine the hue and cry that would go up if that happened in any city in the Upper Mid-West? Why? Because it is assumed that if you make a way, (paved, gravel, dirt, bike path, sidewalk, etc), that it should be accessible all year. Snow or no. A city that says, "we aren't clearing sidewalks and bike paths" is really saying that they cannot/will not care for citizens who choose, or have to use means other than cars to get around.
|This path was cleared up until a bridge crossing, and what then? Get on the street!|
This might be due to other causes, sure. However; I see the footprints and tire tracks on my commute. Not everyone gets around by car, and some have to use other means. Cities should be responsible for making sure their paved walkways and cyclepaths are cleared in Winter so people like the woman above don't have to choose walking in the street. If they "cannot afford" to be clearing off these right of ways, then why did they install them in the first place? It's like building fire stations and then saying you cannot afford to pay firemen to man them. Oh.......yeah. That's actually a thing too.....
It just makes sense to take care of those who cannot drive and must walk or cycle, and by extension, those who choose to do so. They are out there, whether you think they are crazy or not. (Some might say you are cray-cray for driving, so there is that) But what you think of these people doesn't matter, cities and towns exist for the mutual benefit of those who choose to live within their bounds. The government is tasked with the duty to "protect and to serve" its citizens. If then, a snow storm comes along and dumps snow on right of ways, be they for cars, buses, walkers, or bicycles, it is then incumbent upon the government to make sure its citizens can use these amenities which they are taxed for.
Car culture is catered to the point of the exclusion of other citizens that do not or cannot use cars. This is wrong. We have made a lot of progress in some areas, but we've got a lot further to go before we can say our cities are caring for its citizens in the way that is only decent.