The most obvious thing is the now completely accepted disparity in street
clearing services as between road and sidewalk.
If you are in a car salting of otherwise frozen highways in cold weather is
usually adequate but clearing of sidewalks except in the foyer and car park
areas of shopping centres and city centre pedestrian areas is minimal to
non-existent. The citizen exiting a snout house to their car need only salt
a few metres or less (if in their garage) of iced driveway to get into their
car and onto the salted road.
If you wish or have to walk only the agile with the right footwear for icy
surfaces can go out without risking a fall onto hard surfaces because the
sidewalks will be snowed and - worse - filmed with ice. Conditions are only
marginally better for cyclists. Once you are on a salted surface you are
fine but in the meantime a prioritised policy of salting the busier roads
means the routes a cyclist would prefer as being freer of car born traffic
are often next to impassable on a bicycle because they are so slippery.
A car may have some difficulty on such surfaces but as long as the driver
goes slowly they need suffer no serious risk of a bump or personal fall.
Gritting policy is heavily oriented in favour of the carborn and the places
they walk to from where they have parked their cars.
I have raised this matter before. Given the extra costs of salting (let
alone sweeping) sidewalks it was suggested to me that the problem would only
be solved by householders being responsible for salting the spaces outside
their properties - as is the case in several parts of the world (Germany?
some parts of USA? Forgive my ignorance). This could be fine and a matter of
pride in suburbia and where detached houses provide residence for a
relatively permanent population - but how could it work in inner city areas
of dense housing with a highly differentiated level of personal feelings of
responsibility for the space outside your home, or where there may be a high
proportion of disabled or elderly residents.
I could see a policy of the kind I'm describing working in our inner city
suburban road of fewer than 50 detached and semi-detached houses but I know
other streets where it would be very difficult to impose a sense of personal
and community responsibility for clearing sidewalks of ice and where
regularly replenished sand and salt tubs on corners would be the subject of
vandalism and flytipping. I am not saying it couldn't happen and in the long
rum I am optimistic. I could, for instance, imagine more inventiveness being
applied to mechanised sidewalk grit spreaders on the same principle as the
road grit spreaders.
Any more thoughts?
34 Beaudesert Road
Birmingham B20 3TG
00 44 121 554 9794
00 44 7775 655842
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2002 3:41 PM
Subject: [carfree_cities] Frigid Carfree Cities
>let me challange the list to
>expend a few neurons in considering the challange of making a place like
>Regina carfree. Consider this. .......................
........., I would suggest a frigid carfree city would also
have (to protect the people walking in frostbite temperatures for
possibly up to 15 minutes):
-a system of skywalks, and/or
-a system of underground streets (Toronto is an excellent example)
-the metro system would definitely be underground (to protect the tracks
& to keep people warm while waiting)
Am I forgetting anything?