People with Disabilities Want Residents, Businesses to Clear Icy Sidewalks
One group calls on residents and businesses to diligently remove snow from public surfaces
FARGO, N.D. — People with disabilities across the metro are having a tougher time getting from place to place in the winter.
For Carey McWilliams, walking down the street during the winter could be a challenge.
“Snow is kind of the blind person’s fog, it gets rid of any lines to the ground you might have that you can navigate from. You don’t know the difference between a sidewalk and grass, and you kind of have to guess,” said McWilliams.
One obstacle McWilliams deals with on a frequent basis is icy sidewalks.
“You get black ice, which is lovely, in between patches of dry ground where you really can’t defend against it, and it’s pretty jarring when you come across it, and there are numerous times where I have full traction and then no traction,” McWilliams said.
McWilliams isn’t the only one who finds walking on icy surfaces difficult.
“A lot of times with snow, they don’t get the sidewalks good and clean, and the cane wants to slip and slide,” said Steve Anderson, a Fargo resident who walks around with a cane after suffering a stroke a few months ago.
Some of these concerns are shared to the Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living, an advocacy group for people with disabilities that ensures public spaces are compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.
“If there’s a complaint about snow being on the sidewalk going beyond what the city ordinance states, then go to that city because most city ordinances have in them that if the snow is not removed in a timely manner, the city crews will do that and bill the property owner,” said Jerry Christianson, an Accessibility Specialist for the Freedom Resource Center.
Chris Brungardt, West Fargo’s Public Works Director, says it is really simple for people to avoid a fine and keep the sidewalks safe for everyone.
“Don’t wait until the storm’s completely done to start getting out there. If you get a really sunny day like today, it starts sticking and adhering to the concrete a little bit more, so if you get out there when the snow is still fluffy and blowing around, you get down easier to the bare pavement,” Brungardt said.
Businesses and people who live in Fargo, Valley City, and Fergus Falls have 24 hours after the snow stops falling to clear their sidewalks.
Meanwhile, people in West Fargo have a full 48 hours to remove the snow.