1. It promotes year-round walkability for all residents, workers, and visitors, thus serving the explicit goals of the new Green Code.
2. It promotes better air quality. People who can count on consistently cleared sidewalks will leave the car at home more often and burn less fossil fuel.
3. It promotes healthy movement and exercise. People who can count on consistently cleared sidewalks will walk more often to their destinations.
4. It promotes active street life and neighborly interaction.
5. Sidewalks plows are smaller & cheaper to operate than street plows. Having consistently cleared sidewalks will reduce the pressure for nonstop street plowing.
6. Sidewalk plowing can be contracted out to bidders, thus avoiding an increase in the public payroll.
7. It makes city living more affordable and competitive by reducing the need to own and support a private automobile.
8. It addresses the problem of high-vacancy neighborhoods, where there are no owners to fine for not shoveling.
9. It saves lives of property owners. Every year, Buffalonians risk fatal heart attacks by shoveling snow. In a region with an increasingly graying population, it is unethical for cities to fine people for avoiding a life-threatening activity.
10. It saves lives of pedestrians. People forced to walk in the street risk being killed by drivers.
11. It enables customers to reach businesses during storms and driving bans.
12. It reduces the demand for ever more on- and off-street parking.
13. It serves the large number of Buffalo households who do not own cars.
14. The more errands that residents can do on foot, the less vehicular traffic on roads and streets during snowstorms.
15. It appropriately returns the responsibility for public property to public servants. Nowhere else in municipal management do we fine or shame private citizens for failing to maintain public property.
16. It enables children develop independence instead of having to be chauffeured everywhere by their parents.
17. It helps enables senior citizens to retain their independence instead of having to be chauffeured everywhere by their kids.
18. It enables those who do not drive because of disability or any other reason to retain their independence.
19. It serves the principles of equal access and equal protection.
20. It promotes Buffalo as a year-round destination and shows the world that we control snow, it doesn’t control us.
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Photograph courtesy of Dreamstime.com, location unknown