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Published: 2/20/2007

Snow hinders pedestrians

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Snow and ice nearly bury a bench where Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority riders wait for the bus on Bancroft Street at Westwood Avenue. Residents and businesses have 24 hours to clear their sidewalks, according to city code, but that s not what many pedestrians are seeing as some of last week s heavy snowfall continues to make
getting around difficult. Snow and ice nearly bury a bench where Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority riders wait for the bus on Bancroft Street at Westwood Avenue. Residents and businesses have 24 hours to clear their sidewalks, according to city code, but that s not what many pedestrians are seeing as some of last week s heavy snowfall continues to make getting around difficult.
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Mark Dubois' main form of transportation is his bike, a way of getting around that has become increasingly difficult.

The North Toledoan, 18, a freshman at the University of Toledo, travels nearly nine miles a day on the sidewalks and streets to get to class.

But since last week's storm that dropped nearly 10 inches of snow on the Toledo area, getting around has been a hassle.

Residents and businesses have 24 hours to clear their sidewalks according to city code, but that's not what many of the area's pedestrians are finding out. Slushy snow that's been sloshed onto the sidewalks and areas not shoveled at all are causing problems for bikers and walkers.

"It's very inconvenient," said Mr. Dubois, after being forced out into Bancroft Street several times to avoid snow-filled sidewalks. "And the drivers are horrible. They don't have the courtesy to get over."

Police are in charge of ticketing residents and business owners who fail to clear their sidewalks. While police have the authority to write the $150 tickets, snowy sidewalks are not necessarily a priority, said police Deputy Chief Ron Spann, who is in charge of operations.

The department could not say how many complaints have come in or whether any citations had been issued.

The city code governing removal of snow and ice from walks states: The occupants of each single residential, commercial, or industrial property and the owner of any multiple residential, commercial, or industrial property or of any unoccupied or unimproved property, abutting upon public walks shall clear the walk of snow, ice, dirt, or any other debris within 24 hours after such deposit.

"If someone calls in to complain, as time permits, we'll check it out," Chief Spann said. "That's a low priority. I imagine if you're walking through the snow, it's not a low priority. But in the whole scheme of things, it is."

The city of Toledo is responsible for its own sidewalks. The Division of Streets, Bridges, and Harbor takes care of providing "safe school routes" and clearing sidewalks on bridges, said David Welch, the department's director.

"We've been working from Monday to about Saturday, working around the clock, to clear the streets and sidewalks," he said.

John Apgar, a missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he's been walking around on Toledo streets for several weeks now.

"We broke on Saturday, then went back out after the new snow," Mr. Apgar said.

The last few days have been the most difficult.

"On the residential streets, they're nice because everybody seems to be shoveling," the California native said as he struggled toward a bus stop, many of which also were covered in snow.

"On Central [Avenue] and Monroe [Street], we're mountain climbing."

Toledoan Robert Williams was walking along Collingwood Boulevard near Belmont Avenue when he was forced into the street because sidewalks on both sides of the road were covered in snow.

"I've been walking in the streets the entire way," he said. "None of them have been shoveled."

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-724-6076.



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