Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowy Sidewalk Survey

Highland Ave North at Market Basket 1 corrected

Commenting on my last post, Rick asks that “they” clear the sidewalks, since he almost got killed walking the dog.

I concur.  Totally.

The problem comes when “they” are defined.  The current Salem ordnance calls for sidewalks to be cleared by the property owner.

In the photo above, Market Basket owns this sidewalk since they own and manage the supermarket and its associated parking lot that also includes Target.  The adjacent strip mall and Shaw’s are owned by someone else.

I give Market Basket credit for digging out a path, though I still had considerable trouble getting on the bus after food shopping this morning.  Last week’s news that Market Basket will work with the MBTA on a bus stop at the store is welcome, but as I had feared all year, it may likely come too late for this winter.

Across the street, the bus shelter has not been plowed:

Highland Ave South at Pep Boys corrected

There are sidewalks that are owned by the city, sidewalks owned by the state (like Salem Depot), and sidewalks owned by all sorts of private homeowners.

Our only recourse now as a city is to beg all the private property owners with public-facing sidewalks (which is nearly everyone) to clear their sidewalks out front.

Property owners, though, can’t only think of their own lots:

Unitarian Church at Ash St 2 corrected

This is the Unitarian church at Ash St., next door to my building.

Its lot has been plowed and there’s a pathway, obscured by the snowbank, from the lot up to Ash St. off the image to the left.

What’s missing?

There is a public sidewalk at Bridge St.  It is completely blocked.  I use this path to get to Salem Depot when I am running late (inevitable on a morning like this) walking through my parking lot to get to Bridge St.

I had to walk in the street for half a block until the Federal St. condos, whose sidewalks were cleared out as usual, where I could re-enter the sidewalk and head for the Washington/Bridge intersection to cross to the station as I usually do.

The contractor who cleared out the church’s lot is on the hook for this.

Now multiply this by all the properties you might cross with your dog, whether it’s Federal St., Chestnut St. or Washington Sq.

The only bright spot, if anything, is that I am regularly in contact with Jason Silva (the mayor’s chief of staff) to monitor “my” block, the St. Peter/Church/Brown St. area that covers two downtown parking lots.  That still leaves the two churches (St. Peter’s and St. John’s) and their rectories, 10 Federal, Museum Place, my building (owned by the state) and the Salem Jail.

Not easy and not fun.  Yet we go through this each and every winter, complain about it, and do the same thing next year.

1 comment:

Rick said...

Thanks for the post. I can't understand why the area around the New/old Salem Jail hasn't been cleared. (Though the warm temps and rain has probably cleared it some.)