Snowy Crosswalk? Cut It Out!


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A cleared crosswalk is a thing of beauty--and the law in Verona.
A cleared crosswalk is a thing of beauty–and the law in Verona.

So winter came and, thanks to Winter Storm Jonas, it came hard this weekend. Personally, I’d prefer it if it came in dribs and drabs, but I had no say in matter. I thought the snow we had last Sunday was more than enough, but clearly Mother Nature disagreed. Depending on where you are in Verona, you got somewhere between 20 and 30 inches. (It was hard to tell with all the snow drifts.) From my vantage point (which was quite obscured during the storm), people seemed to be heeding common sense and staying off the road as the snow fell and blew.

Yesterday the sun shone bright as we tried to dig out. It wasn’t easy. Even with a snow blower it was hard. (You can’t just push through two feet of snow with a snow blower unless you have an industrial strength version, which we don’t.) We shoveled and blew. We cleared our walks (or at least made a path). We chopped through the mounds and got our driveway open. (And didn’t throw any of the snow into the street; although as the mounds on the “grass” between the sidewalk and street grew, snow started sliding off, both onto the sidewalk and into the street. When the mounds are almost as tall as you, and I’m pretty short to begin with, it’s not easy to heave ho the snow.) My dad made sure the fire hydrant at the end of the block was accessible. (Hopefully to never be used.)

I didn’t venture off our little block until this morning. Although the kids got a snow day, I didn’t. While I initially thought the kids should have gone to school, as I drove around now I do understand why it wouldn’t be safe.

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While most of the town did a great job (and I know it wasn’t easy), there are still plenty of places where the sidewalks are covered in snow. I’m not talking about little patches of snow and ice; my sidewalk has those and although I’m not thrilled, my walk is at least passable. And although I feel for the people who live at the corners of the streets (honestly I DO), cut-outs are needed so that you can get across the street. (And I know that at the corners is where most of the snow gets plowed up making this job even more difficult.) Many corners had no place to cross the street. So, although the sidewalk was clear, there was no way to get across the street. Any child, or adult, trying to climb over a mound of snow is putting himself at risk. The alternative is to walk to the nearest driveway, go out into the street, walk in the street and cross and then find another driveway to go back onto the sidewalk. This process would need to be repeated over and over again if a child was walking to school today. As good a job as the Verona Department of Public Works did plowing our streets (and I know they were out there continually on Saturday), there are still plenty of icy and snowy patches on even the major avenues.

The center of town on Saturday. (Photo by Christopher Yin)
The center of town on Saturday. (Photo by Christopher Yin)

So please, if you live on a corner, cut out a path (it doesn’t have to be large) so that people can get across. I know it’s hard. I know the snow is heavy and all of us have aching muscles. (Some of us have aching muscles that we didn’t even know existed.) If you don’t think you can do it, the kids are off today, certainly someone would be willing to cut out a path for you. (Although I’m sure it won’t’ be cheap; we have plenty of enterprising teens and tweens in Verona.) And if you don’t live on a corner, well you could lend a hand to a neighbor that does. Or you could make sure that a hydrant near you is accessible.

Finally, as you are out and about today and this week, please drive with care. The roads will melt and refreeze throughout the week. Roads will be narrower. Adults and teens will end up walking on the side of the streets. It’s a pain in the you-know-what, but give yourself extra time in the morning and drive with caution.

Mother Nature gave us a heck of a wakeup call this weekend. Winter isn’t over yet; more snow and ice could be in our future. On the other hand, spring is only 54 days away!

An aerial view of Verona Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. (Photo by Toby Voller Hamson)
An aerial view of Verona Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. (Photo by Toby Voller Hamson)

Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. You can read more of her writing on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.

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Beth Shorten
Beth Shorten
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona from a long line of life-long Verona residents. She chronicles life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog. 


  1. Look at Fairview Ave, one side all the resident have complied with the town ordinance of clearing snow off the sidewalk in front of our houses. Well the residents who live in the newer houses, McMansions, must think they don’t have to abide by the ordinance. The sidewalk in front of all of those houses, one end to the other have not been shoveled as of today as I am posting this. I think they should be given summons, this is not the first time this has happened,the last couple of years the same thing has happened. We pay taxes just like they do and the rules are for all residents not only people with older and smaller houses. If they can afford to hire someone to clear their driveway then hire someone to clear the sidewalk too!


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