Why do drivers get special preference in the winter?

Color Sharon disgusted by the way local cities and towns plow roads but not sidewalks:

... Walking around in winter is NOT an optional activity. Local government should be providing the same snow-clearing services for pedestrians on public sidewalks as they do for drivers on roads.

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    Really not feasible

    Is it really reasonable to expect the city and/or town to also clear the sidewalks? I would say no. That would require the purchasing of significantly additional equipment most likely along with additional manpower. Also, at least in Boston, the way many sidewalks are configured with trees lining them, this would likely be a very time consuming process and would end up requring workers with shovels to do much of it. And equally important where would the snow go? While snow melters are, in my opinion, a good idea, the city doesn't have them yet and I doubt that private home owners are going to allow the city to take snow from the sidewalks and deposit it in their yards. The real focus of angst should be on the city for not adequately fining individual property owners for not clearing their sidewalks. This would include fining other government entities too, in particular the MBTA. Individual property owners who don't shovel out their sidewalks are breaking the law and should be held better accountable. If they were, you'd likely not see as big an issue with the sidewalks, at least in Boston which is all I can speak to.

    It could be done

    I don't know if they still do, but Natick used to plow out the sidewalks in downtown Natick using one of those little Bobcat thingees (sort of a personal bulldozer).

    Obviously, yes, in Boston, that would be ridiculously expensive, and as a taxpayer, I'd much rather see my city's money going toward things such as education and police - and greater enforcement of the existing city law that requires property owners to shovel out their damned sidewalks (while we're at it, I'd love to see tickets handed out like confetti for the dolts who shovel out their driveways into the street).

    Not feasible to maintain public areas?

    In Somerville, the individual property owners do, for the most part, keep their sidewalks clean. The problem lies mainly in areas around parks, on bridges, and other areas not in front of a private home: often it'll take the city a week or more to clear these areas. Whom do we go for accountability in these areas?

    Think about it rationally

    A car slipping on ice means injured or dead people. A person slipping on ice means a bruised bum and bruised ego. Also, you can walk through snow - albeit probably cold and wet - but its impossible to get from point A to point B in a car without some form of plowing. Stuck wheels and all that. From this perspective, given limited resources, it makes sense to focus energy on clearing the streets.

    Yes, I am thinking about it rationally

    and no, you can't realistically walk through snow above a certain level. Have you ever tried to get anywhere on foot through unplowed snow? It shouldn't be mandatory to own a car and have a drivers license in order to safely leave your home between December and March.

    A car skidding on ice hitting pedestrians who were forced to walk in the street also means injured or dead people, and it's not the people inside the vehicles.

    Kids still walk to school in Framingham. It's extremely dangerous when the sidewalks aren't cleared.

    sidewalks

    what annoys me most is how much effort is put into keeping state (read: DCR) roads clear, but they do not make anywhere near that kind of effort on the sidewalks near those roads. example: the Mass Ave and Longfellow bridge roadways are always well cleared, but the sidewalks are among the last in the city to be touched. Meanwhile, Cambridge can ticket me (or anyone who squeals on me) for not shovelling, all while those bridge sidewalks remain nearly impassable.

    Here's how to get the DCR to fix that

    Get some high-school kids to walk in the street and then get hit by a car. Worked for the VFW Parkway in West Roxbury (which now also features this humongous fence before and after the high school to keep the kids from crossing anywhere but at the crosswalks).

    Communal snowblower

    Last winter everyone on our little cul-de-sac pitched in and bought a snowblower, about $800 divided seven ways was not bad at all. One neighbor keeps it in his garage and ends up doing most of the snow removal, he seems to not mind. It makes a big difference. Once he makes a pass, you shovel the edges of the sidewalk and make a space for your car in much less time.