Make winter walking in the Heights easier

School kids on the east side of Lee Road between Clarendon and E. Fairfax roads, negotiate the snow on March,1,2010. Photo by Jim Miller.

As spring breaks, our town seems a friendlier place. Without any special planning, we find ourselves running into neighbors who hadn’t been more than a distant glimpse for the past three or more months.

It’s worth a thought why this comes about year after year. One factor is that the sidewalks on many streets are often virtually impassable in the snow months. The chances for casual social interactions drop precipitously.

But what about those winter walkers who walk because they have no choice?

The City of Cleveland Heights, unlike University Heights, maintains that the homeowners and landlords/tenants, even along major through streets, are obliged to clear the public sidewalks that run along their property.

This is a polite fiction. A drive along any major street in winter will show that it does not happen. Who would really expect it to happen? Snowplows throw up immense amounts of hardened snow; the faster the snowplows move, the farther the snow goes.

SOLUTIONS in a time of difficult budget cutbacks:
1. The city with the library schools and business district associations should Cooperate and coordinate.

2. Slow down the plows on major  streets.

3. Study the city to find key sidewalk linkages between schools, libraries, and shopping areas. Build on the strips already cleared.

4.Clear the sidewalk on only one side of a major road. Walkers will figure it out.

5. Target access to key bus stops.

Times are hard, and that is the very reason we should do it. There is time now to prepare for next winter.

Jim Miller is a 25-year resident of Cleveland Heights, who served as its chief probation officer for two decades.

Read More on Opinion
Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 9:54 PM, 03.23.2010