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Shoveling out after the storm

November 15, 2010 - Jodelle Greiner
Saturday did not turn out like I’d planned.

I was all ready to go over to Blue Earth and cover the second day of the Holiday Sampler and stop in at the Tour of Tables, but I never got there.

Instead, I wound up walking up and down the streets of Fairmont looking for people dealing with the nearly a foot of snow we got dumped on us early that morning.

Sigh. Such is the life of a reporter.

Shifting gears like that is normal for us, and we expect that things will not always go as planned, but there were definitely some things I could have done without, like having to walk in the streets due to the fact that sidewalks hadn’t been cleared, even though this was in the afternoon.

Mucho gracias to El Agave for not only shoveling their sidewalk, but clearing a path from the restaurant all the way into the street. It made it really convenient for me to get to the Sentinel office, because the stalls on that side of Downtown Plaza had not been plowed yet.

Thanks also to whoever shoveled a path in front of the Sentinel office. That was very thoughtful.

I’m very grateful to the drivers — like four of them — who were traveling east on Blue Earth Avenue and managed to avoid hitting me while I was walking back to the office, in the lane of traffic since the gutters were ankle-deep in slushy water and the sidewalks hadn’t been shoveled. (I thought it would be easier going on a major thoroughfare, but next time I'll stick to the back streets.)

Granted, there were some folks who’d shoveled their walks, but usually the place next to them wasn’t shoveled, which meant I had to decide whether to plow through the inches-deep snow on the walks or step into and over snow piled even higher along the curb to get to the street (often with ice-cold water at the bottom), where I had to walk in the lane of traffic because the snow extended over the curbs and well past the gutters. It was not a fun process.

I know shoveling sidewalks is a pain and the last thing you want to do on a Saturday, but it really is a safety issue. Even if you plan on spending the day inside, there are people — law enforcement and street crews included — who have to be out on those streets walking and driving. Pedestrians in the street are always a safety hazard, but especially when the driving conditions are bad.

I realize some folks are unable to shovel, for whatever reason. Please consider hiring someone — a teenager or other neighbor — to make sure it gets done. Also, if you have neighbors that you know have a difficult time, offer to shovel or blow out their sidewalk for them.

I hate walking in the streets and I always yell at pedestrians who walk in the streets, especially when there’s a perfectly good sidewalk right there. In fact, I almost got in an accident this morning (Monday). A woman was walking her dog in the street in spite of the fact the sidewalk was clear. I was trying to get around her without hitting her or the dog and there was a big truck coming in the other lane straight at me. I noticed that after I passed, she took the dog onto the sidewalk, which was moot by then.

Please, if you are out walking, use the sidewalks if they are clear. There really isn’t room for pedestrians on the streets with all this snow narrowing the streets even more. Drivers will try to look out for you, but it’s tough driving on wet/slushy/snowy streets without having to dodge pedestrians.

 
 

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