Sunday, December 16, 2007

Victory At Last!

Have I told you about my battle with the town for sidewalk plowing? My street is the only one in our neighborhood that does not have a sidewalk plowed. I never noticed this until last year, when my daughter started kindergarten and her bus stop was at the corner of our street (also the corner of our yard -- but we have a large lot and it's quite a distance from the house). We had QUITE a lot of snow last winter, and my girl could not walk safely on the sidewalk to wait for her bus -- she would have to walk in the street and stand in the street, near the corner. We live in a very quiet, older neighborhood, but there is a new section behind us and 2 of the neighbors back there own Hummers, and sometimes whip through our street to get to theirs. We also have the occasional "drag racers" sailing through as though toward the finish line. None of this makes me feel comfortable about having my 6 year old standing in the street! Now, usually we do walk her down to the bus and wait with her, but sometimes when it is particularly cold, I agonize about taking my toddler out to wait for her sister's bus. If my girl could walk safely to the bus and I could stand on my front step and watch her, it would make things much easier!

Anyway, last year, I got on the phone to the bus company to see if they could just pick her up in our driveway, as they do with the other kids in the neighborhood. I was told, "No, we can't drive around in circles all day long (I think this was a BIT of an exaggeration...), you need to take it up with the town." So, I called the town. Well, I had to wait a week for the "Sidewalk Plowing Guy" to get back from vacation, then there were a series of phone calls back and forth, and finally after great discussion, I was told that a) if I wanted the sidewalk plowed I needed a petition signed by my neighbors because sidewalk plowing is "a real hot-button issue" in my town, and b) even if I get the petition to them ASAP, they will not plow until next year, because we're too late to get into the schedule... Well! I was QUITE irritated, needless to say, and I got a great deal of advice from my father, my officemate's mother (anyone that heard me crabbing about this -- whether in person or loudly, while they are trying to talk to their daughter who sits in my office!), you name it. Basically, they were telling me that I should call up the town and say that my lawyer would like to know the name of whoever we should sue if my daughter is struck by a car while waiting in the street for her bus!

I actually backed down at that point -- I'm not sure why, I don't usually do that, but I guess I was nervous about getting a reputation as a hot-head with the town, or something.

This year, I didn't think about it until the first snowfall, and then I called again, and again I was told to go get a petition signed -- 51% of the neighbors, which on our "big" street is 5 out of the 9 houses -- that's 9 total including both sides of the street. I got our next door neighbor, and then my husband and our daughter went out after work one night and got the other neighbors that we needed. Everyone was wonderful and completely understanding and thought it was a great idea to get the sidewalks plowed, especially now that the neighborhood is turning over and we have a few younger kids who will be attending school soon. I sent the petition in the next day and the "Sidewalk Plow Guy" that I had spoken to two years in a row confirmed that they would add us to the list!

Well, this morning my husband was getting ready for work and he said, "Honey?" Yes? "They are plowing the sidewalk!" And the tone of his voice was priceless -- it was like "We've won the battle!" Hallelujah!


Christine said...

It's a hot button issue in our town?? Who knew! The sidewalk has been plowed on our street with no problem.

I remember this issue from last year. SO glad you were able to get it solved. I'm so proud of you! Taking on the town like that!!!! I'm sure your neighbors are pleased as well!

Deanna said...

Yes, who knew? I guess because they often tear up people's lawns with the plow, because they can't see through the snow. But that happens to our lawn by the curb because of the snow plows plowing the street!

I find it ironic though that some school districts close school in the winter because of snow on the sidewalks and kids not being able to walk on the sidewalks to school. I guess walking in the street to the bus is ok...