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Who is responsible to clear snowy sidewalks around the ENTIRE town of Westford?

Roads are clear, sidewalks are not..who is responsible to clear the snow?

First off, I want to say the Westford DPW does an overall great job of keeping the streets safe and clear of snow and ice during winter storms.  

 

My blog point is to ask who is responsible for clearing the sidewalks in and around the entire town of Westford?  I do my best and part of clearing my driveway and a 'widemouth' at the end of the driveway.  I also have a fire hydrant close to my home that I shovel out routinely.  My street does not have any sidewalks (it is a dead end street) but there are plenty of sidewalks in my area (Graniteville and Forge) that are now completely covered and will not be cleared until nature says so (if you catch my snowdrift?).  

 

I have seen alot of people walking (the dog) and jogging the now narrower streets of Westford.  I know alot of kids walk to school and walk to their bus stops using the town sidewalks too.  Obvioulsy there is a significant safety issue without having safe sidewalks for everyone to use.  During my commute to Boston, Concord's Lowell Road sidewalks were completely clear.  I saw the same in Littleton yesterday along Goldsmith Street.  I have not traveled other streets in and around Concord and Littleton like I do in Westford, but most of the sidewalks around town seem to be completely covered still.  Granted, I am one who says stay in, walk in your own neighborhood (not main streets) or goto the gym versus putting yourself and drivers in danger.  This is an annual and important safety issue that never seems to get answered.  Does anyone know?  

 

PS I believe I have heard that the sidewalks around the Common get done by the town because they are 'the most important'.  That would not sit well with me, at all!  In today's day and age of email, faxes and use of computers there is no document that 'Nancy' at Ex: Town Hall couldn't scan, fax or email to ex: the WFD.  Aren't the tax paying neighbors and kids lives in Nab, Forge and GVille important too?        

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Mike February 11, 2013 at 07:43 PM
I think this answers your question: http://www.westfordma.gov/pages/government/towndepartments/WestfordMA_highway/documents/SNOW&ICEPROCEDURES.pdf
joseph mcgruff February 11, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Well, this one bullet point does, not the entire link but thanks. ♦ The Town of Westford does not perform winter maintenance on sidewalks. Residents are encouraged to clear sidewalks in front of their property. It is nice to know the neighboring towns maintain their sidewalks in the winter, arguably the most important time to keep them clear and the kids/residents safe. .
David Holladay February 11, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Thanks for mentioning clearing out hydrants.Why not do the two hydrants closest to your house? If enough people do this, we can speed up emergency response.
KarenL February 11, 2013 at 08:47 PM
We do not have sidewalks in my neighborhood, though I do clear the hydrant each time. Years ago, I lived in a residential neighborhood of Boston. Homeowners/tenants/business owners were responsible for clearing the sidewalk in front of their property. You got a ticket/fine if you didn't.
bob February 12, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Why is it always up to "some one else" all the time? Why should the town clear every single sidewalk in town? That would cost so much money, and then everyone would complain about the cost! It is up to each home owner to clear the sidewalk in front of their house. People have become so lazy they can't even clear the sidewalks for their own kids or their neighborhood? The town needs more money? Maybe they should start fining people who don't clear out the hydrants and sidewalks. Or do it for them and then mail them a bill.
joseph mcgruff February 12, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Bob, I mainly brought up this point to find out opinions. I do my part every snow storm, even help the neighbors if they need it (like this last storm for sure). A few of my concerns are places where there are sidewalks but NO houses (Boston Rd to 495, North Main St to Engine 2, in front of JV Fletcher library) that forces people to use the street. As well, if someone were to slip and fall, break an elbow or god forbid get hit by a car whose fault would it be in these areas? Not a homeowner...pretty sure it would be the town!? Somehow Littleton and Concord can afford to do it, but Westford can't? Hmmm and what happened to all that snow budget money from last year (record low snowfall by the way)? Lets build another NEW unmanned Fire Station in Parkerville instead...geez louise : (
kss February 12, 2013 at 09:34 PM
I personally find it ridiculous, lazy, and not to mentioned a hazard when people can not be bothered to clear the sidewalk in front of their homes. Especially, when you live down the street from a school! With how much snow we have gotten, there is no room on the shoulders to even think about walking or running in the street. What about people walking their dogs, kids walking to school....With all the topics on the patch, recycling, town money, etc. this topic erks me the most. Common courtesy!
Kaio February 13, 2013 at 10:19 PM
It's much easier to say and much harder to do this. I have about 120 feet of sidewalk. I took 4-5 hours to blow the snow off my driveway/cars. The sidewalk (and my walkway) got piled with even more snow (while clearing the driveway). I agree it is our responsibility but this storm was no picnic... I have done none of them and now they are iced over. :-(
Rob Carey February 14, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Why would somebody have to be at fault if somebody slips and falls? I know everybody has to try and sue somebody because they fall while walking, but does nobody take responsibility for their own actions anymore.
Dick February 17, 2013 at 03:59 PM
This is all well,and good,but what is a handicapped or, elderly indivdual supposed to do?
joseph mcgruff February 18, 2013 at 02:34 AM
Rob C I agree that lawsuits are a dime a dozen today. Couldn't you argue that is even more of a reason to clear all sidewalks? It is not just slip and fall...it is slip, fall, break an elbow...or ankle...or hit your head and get a concussion and stitches...its your child having to walk in the street with cars, buses, mack rigs or dpw plows putting themselves and the drivers at risk, it is the handicap or elderly person not being able to get into the library, insurance or dentist office. I am the 1st to say drive your kid to school, reschedule the appointment or don't walk the dog or go for that jog after a storm. I also believe in consideration for all parties not just the majority when it comes to public safety. In my opinion public safety outweighs the next publicly funded Winter Fest at East Boston Camps, a(nother) new Fire Station or a parking lot at the BFT...clearing all Westford sidewalks would be a fraction of the cost for the above mentioned 'needs'. It could be a 3 fold payback to residents: Safe sidewalks for all to use, no lawsuits and town wide gratitude. Is that alot to ask?

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