EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 13, 2013

Parents fear for students walking on edges of streets

City works to clean sidewalks, widen roads

HAVERHILL — Sara Resillas said snow-covered sidewalks along Main Street forced her son, her three nephews and other students to walk in the street to get to their bus stop yesterday.

She and other parents are concerned about children walking at the edge of roads, many of which are narrow due to large snowbanks.

Because of the snow left by the Blizzard of 2013, city workers have been unable to clear all sidewalks leading to schools and bus stops.

The city has an ordinance that requires homeowners to keep the sidewalks in front of their residences clear of snow or risk being fined. Resillas said she wants the city to at least remind people of the ordinance.

"I don't believe residents know it's their responsibility to clear sidewalks," she said. "You get fined for having your car parked on the wrong side of the street in the winter, so maybe the city can just remind people about clearing their sidewalks or else be fined."

Resillas, who lives on 17th Avenue, said some people owning business along the stretch of Main Street where her son walks did remove snow, but some residents did not.

Mayor James Fiorentini said a storm of this size makes it very difficult for the city to fine people. He said he prefers to ask for voluntary compliance.

"What we really need is everyone's help," Fiorentini said. "What we need is for everyone to pitch in and have every able bodied person who can do this without jeopardizing their health to clear the sidewalk in front of your house, and if you can, help your neighbor."

Superintendent James Scully said it's unrealistic to think the city can remove snow from every sidewalk after a storm of this size. He issued an instant alert message on Monday evening asking parents to talk to their children about using caution when walking to and from school on streets where the sidewalks are not passable. Schools reopened yesterday.

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