Transportation Riders United

Get Revenge on the Snow: Shovel Your Sidewalks! [Guest Blog]

Despite two months of continual snow, some people need a reminder of how important it is to shovel your snow. Here’s a guest blog from our friend Dave Bulkowski from Disability Advocates of Kent County, offering both a carrot and a stick approach to snow shoveling:

 Shovel Your Sidewalks!

Do you want to get revenge on all this snow?

We do too! Please help dig out bus stops in the Grand Rapids Metro Area!

Shovel Your Sidewalks and/or fun will be sure to ensue.

Shovel your sidewalks and fun will ensue.

Really? Fun? Shoveling? Have I fallen on the ice and hit my head?

Yes, fun can really ensue if you gather a few friends and head on out to help your neighbors and complete strangers.

I’m not talking about shoveling the whole sidewalk (but you could do that if you want). I am only talking about shoveling the small area by our local bus stops.

For many people, the busses are an essential link to jobs, to school, to the doctor, grocery shopping, family, and more. But many of our bus stops are buried under several feet of snow. This means that many people are forced to wait in the street, or climb over a snow bank to get on the bus. For people with disabilities, in particular, this is an insurmountable obstacle. For lack of a clear bus stop, people are forced to stay home this winter.

You can help and have fun, too!

  • Get your friends, your youth group or your team and grab your shovels!
  • Find a bus stop or two in need of help, and move the snow!
  • Send your before and after pictures, along with the stop location, to aric.c@dakc.us.

Disability Advocates of Kent County will post your pictures to our Facebook page. Share your names or the name of your group, and we’ll make sure you get the recognition you deserve. Members of the group that clears the most stops by February 28 will receive a small prize! A cleared bus stop has a path at least four feet wide at curb level, connecting the sidewalk to the street, or a path at least four feet wide and five feet deep where there is no sidewalk.

Shovel your sidewalk or fun will ensue.

What am I talking about? Shovel your sidewalk OR fun will follow? What kind of fun could this be?

Why, making a complaint about an impassable sidewalk!

I know we’re all tired of this darn winter, but, come on, folks, the time for excuses is gone and the time for just bucking up and gittin’ ‘er done is well upon us. (When Abraham Lincoln said, “Thank God for Michigan,” he was not talking about our ability to whine about the weather.)

So, having taken the bus on Saturday to an appointment, I encountered well shoveled sidewalks at a vacant school building and then covered sidewalks at a business that should know better. I’m not talking covered like too many sidewalks and bus stops — a few inches of packed snow and then the fresh stuff on top. I’m talking ten to fifteen feet of piled snow which the business’s front end loaders stored on the sidewalks.

Not to be the boy who cried wolf, I checked out Google Earth and, low and behold, they actually have sidewalks. So I called that municipality.

Funny thing is that when I called, they said the last time someone complained about that business, they said they did not have sidewalks. The audacity calling Google’s satellite a liar! Plus the municipality has its own mapping system which shows sidewalks.

So, the wheels of City Hall are turning and a complaint letter will be sent.

Got a place to complain about? Join in on the fun.

Dave

David Bulkowski, J.D.  

Disability Advocates of Kent County

(616) 949-1100, ext. 228; dave.b@dakc.us