The Mobile app for city SidewalksPosted: February 22, 2011
I learned from reading the NOAA website, that February is typically a dry period in Minnesota. The snowstorm from last weekend appears to be the largest snowfall ever recorded in February. March, on the other hand, is typically the snowiest month. So despite the fact that daylight savings time is only a couple weeks away, don’t trade your snow shovels in for gardening tools just yet.
Last year, a friend of mine was running up the steps to the St. Paul Public library, and suddenly found herself lying on her back and forgetting where she was. The concussion that followed her sidewalk spill also robbed her of her sense of smell. Another friend lost her footing when she was out walking her dog. Nine months later, the broken bones in her foot are finally healing.
Snow shoveling is a civic duty. 30 + years ago, as a struggling poet living in an upstairs duplex in the Lexington -Hamline neighborhood, I used to run a 3 mile circuit down Summit Avenue during all four seasons. I remember my indignation at the Summit Avenue homeowners who refused to shovel their sidewalks, and finally firing off a letter to the St. Paul paper, which they published, admonishing these wealthy (relatively!) homeowners for shirking their responsibilities.
Walking, I should saying trudging, or slipping, through the snow, when not dangerous, just generally detracts from the quality of urban life. Being involved in the mobile app business, I would love to create an app that chronicles the state of city sidewalks. It could be crowd sourced; just enter the state of the sidewalks on your street into a database. It would help the city find and tag the shoveling shirkers and help walkers plan their daily routes.
This video, found on Twin Cities Streets for the People, of a citizen who started a small brigade for clearing her neighborhood streets, makes me believe that with community (and a smart phone) anything is possible.