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Sidewalk Snow Removal: How Are We Doing in Monroe County?

Story by: David Riley
A Rochester resident and a former journalist, David is completing a master’s degree in urban planning at the University at Buffalo…

Winter sidewalk. Rochester NY.

For tens of thousands of Monroe County residents, a sidewalk isn’t just a convenience. It’s a vital connection to the world.

Nearly 12,000 people here walk to their jobs, U.S. Census data shows. Another 13,000 walk to and from bus stops in order to take public transportation to work, including as many as 1 in 3 workers in some city neighborhoods. Many people also rely on sidewalks to get to and from school, medical appointments or grocery stores, much less to go for a jog or walk the dog.

So for many people, it isn’t simply an annoyance if part of a sidewalk turns into a snowdrift during the winter. It’s a disruption that forces people going about daily routines to wade through snow or take a dangerous chance and walk in the street. For people with disabilities, a snowy sidewalk can make a usually simple outing impossible.

Yet keeping sidewalks clear is not always a priority for municipalities in the Northeast and Midwest. The City of Rochester does more than many other Snow Belt cities. While property owners here are responsible for clearing adjacent sidewalks of snow and ice, the city also provides supplemental sidewalk plowing anytime it snows at least 4 inches. The program has drawn some interest in recent years from Buffalo and Syracuse, neither of which generally plow sidewalks beyond public buildings. A handful of local suburbs also provide some municipal sidewalk plowing, including Greece and Irondequoit. Read more

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Can Lower City Speed Limits Make Streets Safer?

In June, the New York State legislature passed a bill to let NYC lower its default limit to 25mph. Lowering speed limits is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan. [PHOTO: Dmitry Gudkov, Flickr]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

All across the country, state legislatures are raising speed limits on roadways external link. I think the highest I’ve read about is a tollway in Texas, which is taking on the Autobahn with an 85 mph limit. Highways are getting faster it seems. New York City, however, has been pushing for the authority to lower speed limits on its streets. And in June, the New York State legislature passed a bill to let NYC lower its default limit to 25mph (from the default of 30 mph). Lowering default speed limits on its 6000 miles of roads is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero external link plan to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024…

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