Kent council members say snow on pavements a safety hazard
After a snow storm dumped nearly a foot and a half of snow on the area, Kent City Council voted to ask the city administration to look into snow removal, calling the issue a safety issue.
Councilwoman John Kuhar said the “terrible dumping” of snow “has really created bad conditions on the sidewalks.” On East Main Street, he said, several businesses left a “six-foot pile of snow” on the sidewalks.
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Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer-Bish said she noticed at least 6 people walking down Main Street recently because there was nowhere else to walk. She suggested that when that happens, the city could close a lane to traffic so pedestrians can use it.
“There is no place to walk,” she said. “There probably won’t be anywhere else to walk for the next two weeks.”
She introduced a motion to refer the issue of sidewalk safety after snow events to the city administration and asked them to work with Franklin Township officials. Councilors Garrett Ferrara and Roger Sidoti voted against the motion, while all other council members voted in favor.
Councilman Robin Turner pointed out that the city has an ordinance that prohibits businesses from blocking access to sidewalks. “It seems to me that we do,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, high piles of snow prompted the city to announce a holiday, with two hours free parking at downtown meters due to heavy piles of snow that made it difficult for motorists to enter.
“This snow we had over the weekend was probably the worst snow I’ve ever cleared,” said Councilor Mike DeLeone, an employee of the Franklin Township road crew. “You can’t sit down and two days after the event criticize us for trying to fix this…Give it some time. It’s been two days.”
Ferrara suggested the city would be better spent encouraging people to take the bus to avoid the snow. Shaffer-Bish later pointed out that pedestrians still have to walk to get to bus stops.
“We’re just spinning our wheels,” Ferrara said. He said he disagreed with the idea of closing a lane because most motorists will not receive the message that the lane is closed. “It’s going to be like Death Race 2000, where people get mowed down on the street,” he said.
Journalist Diane Smith can be reached at email@example.com.