- Because sidewalks, like streets, parks, and schools, are public property. Nowhere else in municipal management is it legal to fine and shame private citizens for failing to maintain public property.
- It promotes year-round walkability for all residents, workers, and visitors, thus serving the explicit goals of the new Green Code.
- It promotes better air quality. People who can count on consistently cleared sidewalks will leave the car at home more often.
- It promotes healthy movement and exercise. People who can count on consistently cleared sidewalks will walk more often to their destinations.
- Because there is no such thing as 100% compliance with private shoveling mandates, resulting in patchwork accessibility at best.
- Sidewalk plowing can be contracted out to bidders who provide their own equipment, thus avoiding a larger public payroll and higher capital expenditures.
- It makes city living more affordable and competitive by reducing the need to support a private automobile.
- It addresses the problem of high-vacancy neighborhoods, where there are no owners to fine for not shoveling.
- It saves lives of shovelers. Every year, Buffalonians suffer heart attacks when they shovel snow. In a region with an increasingly graying population, it is unethical for cities to fine people for opting out of a deadly activity.
- It saves lives of pedestrians. People forced to walk in the street risk being injured and killed by drivers.
- It enables customers to continue patronizing businesses during storms and driving bans.
- It reduces the demand for ever more on- and off-street parking.
- It serves the roughly 30% of Buffalo households who do not own automobiles.
- It is cheaper per household than hiring neighborhood kids to do it
- It complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act
- It enables kids to develop independence instead of having to be chauffeured everywhere by their parents.
- It enables senior citizens to retain their independence instead of having to be chauffeured everywhere by their kids.
- If private citizen shoveling actually worked for sidewalks, we would use it on streets. Sell the plows, lay off the drivers, and save all kinds of tax dollars.
- When taxpayers inside of motor vehicles are entitled to right-of-ways cleared at public expense and taxpayers outside of motor vehicles are not, we have an equal protection violation.
- It promotes Buffalo as a year-round destination and shows the world that we control snow, it doesn’t control us.
Share and use the hashtag #PlowSidewalksToo
Related: Why We Need Municipal Sidewalk Plowing
Edited December 3, 2022. Photograph courtesy of @D_S_F_J_, location unknown