December 23, 2008

Village sidewalks

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style...

The City of Ithaca's sidewalk-clearing policy seems mostly to annoy people without getting a lot done. They plow the streets, of course, but property owners have to clear the snow from their sidewalks within 24 hours or face escalating fines. This ensures that the first 24 hours after a snowfall will present pedestrians with a crazy patchwork of shoveled and not shoveled, and gives people lots of reason to complain about their useless city government imposing on them.

So much for "Ithaca values," right? I mean, I've had fun for a few years telling my poor oppressed Ithaca neighbors that it doesn't have to be that way. Even a Republican-run village like Dryden has its own DPW crews out clearing sidewalks, ensuring that the major pathways are all walkable. The response I get from Ithaca folks is usually muttering under their breath about how things need to change in Ithaca but never will.

Unfortunately, though, it sounds like the Village of Dryden is gearing up to be just as short-sighted as the City of Ithaca. Village Trustee (and Deputy Mayor) Robert Witty is "not in favor of being in the sidewalk business":

He suggested the Village adopt a policy similar to the City of Ithaca, which aggressively maintains homeowner responsibility for the clearing of sidewalks.

Police Chief Margaret Ryan said Dryden local laws state that it is up to homeowners to clear their own sidewalks within 24 hours of snowfall.

Right. I'm sure the village is spending a fortune on their sidewalk plowing, and after all, it's a lot more fun to charge people for the privilege of being a public right-of-way than to have the public maintain a public right-of-way.

I'm not entirely surprised by this, but of all the "Ithaca values" these Dryden Republicans had to choose from....

Posted by simon at December 23, 2008 8:59 AM in
Note on photos


Rich said:

Yes, and it's better to beat your citizens over their heads with the threat of fines than it is to serve them. why stop at the sidewalk? why not make citizens plow and maintain the road in front of their houses? why not make the homeowners who don't have sidewalks in front of their houses responsible for the sidewalks across the street from them (there are a number of streets in Dryden village with sidewalks on one side, but not the other)? why not make homeowners who don't have sidewalks build new sidewalks and then fine them when they don't shovel them so everyone is fined equally....?