This winter, although my bones are all still intact, I’ve reached my breaking point with my neighbours and their inability to shovel their sidewalks. Just last week, I was walking the three blocks home from my bus stop with some bags in tow, and even though I was treading along as carefully as I could, the inevitable happened. Slipping forwards, I fell on the right side of my body, shoulder and hip crashing against the ice as shampoo and water bottles went flying ahead of me. It’s hands down one of the worst falls I’ve had since my figure skating years. Even those ones don’t seem as bad because this fall had me sitting on the ground for countless, agonizing minutes, trying to calm myself down.

Is it really that hard for people to keep their sidewalks safe? I mean, fine, shovelling can take a lot of time and some people just can’t spare it, but sprinkling a handful of salt over the two metres or so stretch of a skating rink at your doorstep only takes a minute. I doubt any of my neighbours couldn’t take 60 seconds to do that small task, especially when the temperatures were obviously dipping back down and freezing over all the lakes and ponds that had formed on every block and corner in my neighbourhood. Plus, it’s not like I can avoid the sidewalks by trudging through the snow along the edge of their yards. Nope. If I take that route, then I just end up trying to dodge dog crap in the darkness, because of course, they don’t take care of that either (and my street has limited lighting too). Ironically, one of the two houses on my street that does have salt on its walk is owned by a guy who doesn’t even live there (you the real MVP).

Maintenance of sidewalks during the winter is too easily ignored in residential areas, when they should be on the same par as those in commercial areas. In my neighbourhood, there’s an elementary school, a college, families with children and elderly couples, and yet residents still don’t realize that people could slip and fall and break half their body if we don’t take care of our sidewalks. And if we want to become a true winter city in reality and not just on social media, safety should be top on the to­-do list.

Image courtesy of Christina Varvis
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