Hello again! the last two weeks have been particularly grim because of the snows and worse the icy mess left behind. When our first 4 inches hit, I woke up the next morning to find my place of work was closed because the feds were closed, even though most of us live within walking distance of our work. But the day was bright and sunny. Since I was raised in Northwest Ohio and also lived in Cleveland, Columbus, Chicago, and New York City in winters past, I wanted to be out and about. But, although my apartment building maintenance had cleaned our walk and the sidewalk in front and some others had done the same, I soon found that as usual no one had cleaned the curb cuts at the corners. And, when the the street snow removal started they became even more clogged.
One thing I know from my own experience is if you don’t get at the curb cuts early, one overnight freeze and it’s too late and anyone who actually wants to cross a street had better be ready to jump across or get help crossing. And sometimes, when there’s just enough warmth for a minor melt, you have to be prepared to put your feet in icy slush. So, this time, after telling people to no avail, including my own apartment managers and the DCJCC maintenance, that, if they didn’t get after these curb cuts, no one would be able to safely cross, I decided to walk to the hardware store on 17th and get my own shovel. I got a scoop shovel, not a big snow shovel, and came back and started shoveling out the ones at Q and 16th. It was great exercise for me and I met some good people, including a guy who took a turn shoveling out one cut. Turned out he was from SE Michigan. After this experience, I have adopted the curb cuts there an went out again on Sunday after our Saturday storm.
Why am I telling you all this?
First, to encourage those of you who live close to corners and have to shovel anyway, to consider adopting a curb cut or two of your own.
Second, to warn all pedestrians to take the time to find a safe place to cross at or as close to the light of the street you are crossing. Often there is still some pristine snow on the grass strip close by. you can get to the street at that point safely but don’t cross the entire street there or you might be run down by traffic. Instead, follow the curb in the street to the pedestrian crossing at the light and cross there to as close as you can get to the curb on the other side and step up to a safe spot over the curb on the other side.
ICE–The Pedestrian Nightmare
Even when the initial snow is past and the walks appear to be relatively clean it is important for all pedestrians to look ahead of them wherever they walk. Don’t be in a hurry even if a walk looks clean! There are still spots of ice. And I just learned today of a sad event where the woman who does my hair slipped and fell on the ice during our first snow/ice event. She hit her head and got a serious concussion. If a person slips and falls on the ice, the worst thing that can happen is if you hit your head. The head is coming down fast on the sidewalk or the pavement, both of which are unrelenting. So watch out at all times. If you fall and hit your head, it can kill older people and seriously disable younger ones.
I learned recently from one of my readers who is also a friend that those you you who automatically get my posts do not automatically get the comments on them when I approve them. So if you like a post, come back to it a day or two later and see if there are comments. I say this because reader Bob recently commented on my last post about the Washington City Paper’s effort to map incidents where pedestrians and bicyclists are struck. Bob went to the site and notes that the site is set up to only record new incidents, which makes sense. Be aware of this and still report if you have or witness and incident.
And, I’m pleased to report that I met last night with my new ANC2B commissioner, the first of my New Year’s resolutions, and gave him some background on the need for action on the sidewalk bicycling issue in our neighborhood. I am hopeful that this will move things another step forward.
Have a good weekend, and watch out for remaining icy spots. STAY ALERT! DON’T GET HURT!