WORCESTER, Mass. - As winter approaches, the Worcester School Committee is hoping to crack down on snowy sidewalks.
The first pedestrians to navigate slippery walkways are often students on their way to school or the bus stop. Currently, property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks in front of their building clear of snow and ice.
They're supposed to have the job done within 10 hours of a storm, but several days after Worcester's last snow event, long stretches of sidewalk in the city were still covered with ice.
Last week, the Worcester School Committee and the City Council Committee on Education requested reports from the city manager's office on how much it would cost to launch a municipal sidewalk clearing program, and an overview of how many streets near schools either don't have a sidewalk or have sidewalks that become inaccessible after a storm.
School Committee member Tracy O'Connell Novick said it's time for the city to take some accountability.
"When I'm sending my child out the door at 6:20 and I'm thinking of all the secondary school students who are heading out as well, depending on all the neighbors to have already been up and clearing, doesn't seem as reasonable or as fair as us as a municipality ensuring their safety as they get to school in the morning," O'Connell Novick said.
O'Connell Novick also said when the committees' requests were put in at last week's City Council meeting, they learned the city's transportation department had already been planning to arrange a meeting about sidewalk safety. She feels there's enough cooperation and collaboration on the issue to see some meaningful progress soon.