Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Some residents seek to have the City plow snow from sidewalks

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Buffalo: Some residents seek to have the City plow snow from sidewalks
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A petition is circulating the internet urging City leaders to explore ways to remove snow from Buffalo's sidewalks. YNN's Ryan Whalen reports from Bidwell Parkway in Buffalo with more on the city's response.

When the heavy snow falls, the City of Buffalo sends out the heavy artillery to make sure streets and right-of-ways are safe for drivers and pedestrians.

"This year, the snow plows have been better in my district at least. I think they've been coming around sooner after a snowstorm onto the side streets," said Rich Fontana, Buffalo Common Council President.

The responsibility of cleaning sidewalks, however, falls on the property owners.

"You have to shovel. You have to get out there and make a path, keep it clear, do the best you can."

But about 200 people have signed a petition telling city leaders it's a heavy burden. They say the city should explore ways to take care of the snow and help make Buffalo safer.

"It's really not an expense that I would want to do. To be honest with you, I think there are other expenses the city needs to focus on rather than shoveling sidewalks," Fontana said.

"We like to be known as a walkable village. To become a walkable village, you have to utilize your sidewalks to walk on them," said Allan Kasprzak, Mayor of East Aurora.

The Village of East Aurora owns two sidewalk plows that it uses every time there is more than three inches of snow.

"Once we had the initial purchase in place, it just keeps on replenishing itself over the year. But it's not all that costly if you look at our whole budget," Kasprzak said.

The Village Mayor says while it's affordable for village residents, it would be a much larger undertaking in a city like Buffalo.

"I think the city would have a hard time just purchasing the equipment, like I said, and getting the people to operate them because I have no idea how many miles of sidewalk the city has."

But the petition points out similar-sized cities, specifically Rochester, also provide sidewalk plowing service.

The Buffalo Common Council President says he'll do his due diligence.

"I can call my counterparts in Rochester and see what they're doing, but to be honest we're really trying to cut costs, not add to them," Fontana said.

Even in East Aurora, where the village does plow, there have been issues with people falling on messy sidewalks. The village is working on a warning system it plans to start enforcing next year to make sure residents are cleaning up when municipal workers aren't around.

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