As Chicagoans woke up to a heavy snowfall, pedestrians and public transportation users had another challenge: walking. When I lived on Lake Shore Drive I never had problems with snow and ice on sidewalks because building maintenance and individual homeowners always kept the sidewalks well shoveled and salted so they generally were fairly dry. Not so in many of the other residential areas of the city, which seems to vary often by neighborhood.
This morning I had to take the Lincoln Avenue bus, which mean that I had to walk, or trudge, down the sidewalk. Sidewalk clearance varies substantially on whether home owners and apartment building owners are both willing and able to clear the walkways. I ended up walking to three different bus stops in order to find one that would not require me to be knee deep in slushy snow in order to board.
Returning back to my neighborhood was also an snow packed moment. Because the Paulina Brown Line stop is closed, I walked to Addison and Lincoln. The sidewalks on Lincoln Ave were fairly cleared of snow and ice, probably due to it being a business district. Once I turned the corner I was greeted with a basically unshoveled sidewalk that at least one person was nice enough to snow blow a small pathway on. One would think that if you could afford to live in an upscale condo or townhouse development, money could be had for also being a good neighbor and keeping your sidewalks clear.
I’ve noticed that in Lincoln Square, homes owned by the “old timers” are generally always shoveled and kept clear, while often those sidewalks in front of the $2-$3 million dollar homes offer a chance to break your legs, limbs, pick up a few fractures and at least a few pulled and strained muscles. There are exceptions, but I’ve noticed this tends to occur often enough so that it is impossible to not notice it.
Neighborliness surely has an impact on a building owners sense of civic responsibility, as well. On this street in Lincoln Square, you can see that everyone shovels. What a novel concept. This is also a street that has an annual block party in the summer and where people tend to know their neighbors.
After wading though many curbs and intersections filled with slushy, icy water and 8-10″ piles of snow, I found another oddity after a Chicago snowstorm: a cleared corner sewer drain! Some good neighbor bothered to clear the drain, allowing the water to actually not accumulate into 4″ miniature curb lakes.