Sidewalk snow and ice should be cleared

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This post is a follow up from this letter to the Editor, published February 13th.

From the Downtown Sidewalk Snow & Ice Patrol Unit ( aka Downtown Lynn Neighborhood Association):

As president of the Downtown Lynn Neighborhood Association I’ve taken an active role in this campaign to have sidewalks and ramps cleared adequately for our elderly and handicapped neighbors, but mostly through emails and social media. The real force behind this campaign is DTLna member Jolene Kelly. Today, she took me on a tour of properties that frequently neglect their sidewalks. Kelly has even taken up the shovel to clear sidewalks that are not her direct responsibility in order to help neighbors. She also recently witnessed a friend fall on hard ice from an untreated Mt. Vernon Street sidewalk. Other neighbors have contacted me, as well. Some have spotted people using walkers in the street, with cars honking at them, because sidewalks were not cleared. That is not acceptable in the downtown area, or anywhere in Lynn.

Many of these either uncleared or inadequately cleared public walkways are near businesses, organizations and agencies frequented by our senior neighbors, but they are tough for anyone to navigate.

Last night, as visitors and locals alike came to the Lynn Auditorium, they stumbled over sidewalks and crosswalk ramps (look diagonally across from City Hall) that were encrusted with dirty snow and ice that could have been cleared. That was embarrassing for all of us as Lynners.

This has been a difficult winter season for sure, but given that there are also stretches of sidewalk in the downtown that are perfectly clear and ice free, excuses should not be tolerated. The job can be done.

In the downtown area, most buildings are maintained by a management company or by an owner/landlord, and they are responsible for the sidewalk abutting their properties. It is not the case that these are single family homes with one or two elderly occupants who may not be able to afford to hire someone. The neighborhood would help in that situation. We expect that the management in charge of each building will get the job done. Otherwise, the city of Lynn needs to do all that it can to fine the parties legally responsible, repeatedly if necessary.

Some of the sidewalks you will see below have not been a problem just for one storm, or just this winter, but for several winter seasons. Some of them are impacting our neighbors’ abilities to get to GLSS, or to the Health Center, or to Shaws for groceries.

There’s another storm coming. Will the downtown business and landlord community do the right thing? Will the MBTA clear their sidewalks more than a shovel-width and down to pavement? Will City Hall enforce the rules consistently and fairly?

We’ll be paying attention, and maybe doing a follow-up walk, if necessary.

Seth Albaum

PS: You can send in your photos from any Lynn neighborhood, and you can also be a good neighbor and see if they need help shoveling, first.

These pictures are a sampling from a quick walk spanning Ward 5 and a little of 4. It’s reasonable to expect that these examples will cause the city to act and the result will be better cleared sidewalks city-wide. We shouldn’t expect less.

Descriptions appear underneath when they’re clicked.


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