The City absolutely, positively requires that business and residential property owners remove snow from their sidewalks. You’d think such a courtesy would be a matter of common sense for business owners. You’d be wrong.
Yesterday I watched a senior citizen in a wheelchair get stuck in the icy slush build-up at an intersection on Devon. None of the businesses had shoveled their walks, the CTA had not shoveled its bus stop, and the alderman’s snow corps had not shoveled anywhere, at least not east of California. Luckily, another senior was able to dig him out and help him into the street, where he at least had some chance of getting to his destination. He was furious, and demanded to know why businesses no longer seem to have any sense of responsibility.
It’s a good question. There was a time when businesses put out a little extra effort to turn passers-by into customers. Not anymore.
In my area, only a few businesses and landlords bother to shovel sidewalks, let alone intersections. Take my favorite screw-the-community business, Republic Bank.
Every year the snowplows remove every speck of snow from the bank’s huge parking lot and its ATM. Every year the snowplows park the snow on the 6400 blocks of both Washtenaw and Fairfield, always in parking spaces. Neighbors lost four parking spaces when the lot and ATM were constructed, but the bank needs more. And takes it. This year it took over one space on Washtenaw, even though there’s plenty of room in its lot to put the snow. The snowplow driver created a wall of snow behind one car on Fairfield, and this action has created an inaccessible end-of-street parking space.
Did I mention the plow did its work after 10:00 p.m.? And that the truck came back at midnight to plow yet another parking area behind the bank, and dumped this snow in the alley, creating a barrier that other drivers had to remove so they could get home/get to work? Or that as usual the bank neglected to shovel snow from one part of the sidewalk at its ATM, the part that’s even harder to maneuver since the ATM snow gets dumped there, too? Or that the bank couldn’t rouse itself to shovel out the intersections at the corners of its property on Devon and the E-W alley so pedestrians can get by?
There’s enough room on this huge property for the bank to put this snow. You’d think making crossing the street easier for pedestrians and not inconveniencing the neighbors would be a no-brainer.
You’d be wrong.