Make snow removal a higher priority


Lillian Genest

Some sidewalks on Pleasant Street by Concord High School remain uncleared.

65 dead. 

That’s 65 lives lost and 65 families mourning, in just one city, in just three days, all because of snow, according to NBC News coverage of the blizzard that struck Buffalo, New York, last month.

Devastating storms can hit here in New Hampshire too.

In February 2013, southern New Hampshire towns received around two feet of snow. Writers for The Eagle-Tribune reported that one town, Plaistow, spent a third of its annual snow removal budget to clean up afterward. The community of Pelham spent over half of its budget in just one weekend.

I would like to discuss the importance of cleaning our roadways and walkways of snow and ice to limit the possibility of tragic accidents during our own challenging winters.

Just a couple of winters ago my mother was walking down an unsalted sidewalk and slipped. She was left with a huge bruise down the side of her leg and pain that lasted for a month. 

The solution isn’t as simple as buying more plows and hiring more people.  It costs a lot of money to purchase new vehicles and more salt, and to pay people to work, and budgeting is difficult because winter weather can be very unpredictable here in the Granite State.

If the state underbudgets, it can’t just stop plowing; officials have to dip into summer repair funds to take care of the snow and ice. So why don’t we over budget, and use leftover money, if any, in following winter seasons? The better we take care of our roads and walkways in the winter, the less we will have to fix in the summer.

Many sidewalks in Concord go uncleared, sending pedestrians into the street. (Lillian Genest)

Change on residential roads can happen immediately.

Parents, send your kids out with a shovel and have them go around asking neighbors if they want their sidewalks or driveways shoveled. It can make your kid a couple bucks and make your community safer.

Snow covered sidewalks present a serious safety issue. Concord students often have to decide if they want to walk in the snow, getting shoes and pants wet, and possibly getting hurt, or if they want to walk in the road, threatening their safety and that of drivers.

Clearing sidewalks, especially in school zones, should be made a higher priority.

So write those letters, send those emails, and pester people who can make change. The least we can do is ask to make our community safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

Here in Concord, residents can report concerns to officials by visiting the city’s website and clicking on “Report a Concern.”