We’ve not really been out much over the past few days… the brief snowfall earlier in the week and then the consistently below zero days (it’s currently minus six and destined to be minus nine tonight) has meant walking is more hazardous than driving – and driving on minor roads isn’t great. But just look how much effort goes into keeping the main roads clear…

Why don’t the pavements get the same treatment?

Sliding your car into someone else’s is not great – it’s generally expensive, full of paperwork, and you might even be injured if you do it spectacularly enough. But mostly, with modern tyres, ABS and increasingly all wheel drive, folk manage to navigate their tonnes of steel across country with little excitement, because the roads are gritted overnight and ploughed clear if the snow gets that bad.

If you slip on an icy pavement, you are highly likely to hurt yourself.

I’m old, or at least old enough to remember when folk would kneel down to polish the brass of the front door step (and then the letterbox and the door handle). When it got bad outside, they’d go out to shovel the snow away from the door and also the pavement outside the house. The whole of the pavement outside your door was your responsibility, and social pressure kept you in line with everyone else.

If your neighbours went out to clear their path, you ought to have been out already to do yours.

South Gloucestershire Council proudly proclaim they grit the roads between October and March – and out of these times if things get bad. They note that they have 760 grit bins in the county, but they baldly state “We will grit footpaths and cycle paths only in extreme conditions.” also, 760 bins isn’t great in an area of nearly 500m^2, and I can only find three or four serving our 6m^2 parish, all outside of the actual village where, you could argue, not so many pedestrians are likely to be found – these are clearly for stopping cars skidding down hills.

It seems far more important to prevent vehicles from being damaged than pedestrians…

Ok, so we all need to get from a to b, and it’s a very priviledged position to be in; to be at home and not to have to brave the commute. And transport needs to move stuff around – the shelves are poorly stocked already post-brexit, we don’t need to starve because the motorways are blocked and the snow on the line is the wrong type! But why do we not value pedestrians?

As part of my parish councillor role I’m trying to establish where we most need grit bins, and having gained them (not guaranteed and at a cost to the parish for each one) how we will make best use of them. Do you think residents would take charge and spread grit on pavements when needed? Or would they presume this to be a local authority task and sit back to wait for someone else to sort it out? Uh-huh.

How do you keep the pavements clear where you are? Are the pavements clear where you are? Stay safe, folks.

3 responses to “Pedestrian”

  1. Being in a flat with no room to store a spade, clearing away snow has become a bit of a moot point.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve cleared the pavement outside my house and have been out leafleting at times this week. I have only seen one or two people who have also cleared their pavements.

    My ward is 1 square mile and there are 12 salt bins. The ward next door is twice the size and has one bin and a far older population.

    Councils simply pay lip service to the need for sustainable transport. If they really wanted a modal shift they would salt the pavements and the only roads that would be done would be the bus routes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They’re not done at all. Neither are the cycle paths. Very frustrating. The only way to get about is doing that stupid ice shuffly walk and sticking to the very edges. Melting today but still treacherous in places. Hopefully gone soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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