Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sno go in Cambridge MA

Here is a sidewalk that has not been shoveled. It is covered with tramped down snow that has turned into a slippery, icy, hazard. Whose sidewalk is this? This is the sidewalk of a Person With a Disability who is on the City's Snow Exemption Program. to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks and curb ramps abutting their property. This is a good idea, because it keeps taxes down.
The City is required by State Law to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks, but the State allows the City to use the local option, and assign to property owners the duty of clearing snow from sidewalks and curb ramps that abbut their property.
The City has a program for People With Disabilities, and frail Seniors, who are unable to shovel snow, and who have limited income. The City will shovel the snow for those who qualify for the City's Snow Exemtion Program. Currently there are about 70 folks who qualify.
However, the City fails to actually come and shovel the snow. The sidewalks then become a dangerous barrier along sidewalks that have been cleared by other property owners. Everyone who passes by sees a property owner who has not cleared the snow from the sidewalk in front of their property. Folks on the City's Snow Exemption Program, CSEP, are therby publically humiliated!!
I have recommended that the City adopt a voucher system. Folks on the CSEP would recieve vouchers for snow clearance, which would be based on how long their sidewalk is, and could use these vouchers to have someone shovel the snow on the sidewalks abbuting their property at the same time they shovel their own property. It would get the sidewalks done in a timely way, and free up City staff to pay attention to curb ramps and parks that the City is also responsibe for.
Why does the City refuse to consider vouchers for the CSEP?



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