As of 2 p.m. on Monday, Northgate's sidewalks were not plowed. For some residents, they say this is a concern because students walk to and from the Proctor School using that route.
"Are they expected to walk on Northgate, literally...on the street?" wrote one Northgate resident in an email to Patch. "That poses great risk to them, since folks use it as a cut-through between Route 135 and Otis Street, to get to Route 9 or the new shopping center. Middle schoolers have bus stops on Northgate. They would have to walk in the street. It is disconcerting to me. The chances of a child being hit by a car is compounded when sidewalks are inaccessible."
Maria Mihalek, who also lives in the neighborhood, was so concerned that she snapped photos (which are attached to this story) to send to the superintendent.
"Many of the elderly residents rely on private contractors to plow their driveways, but those contractors do not shovel the sidewalks," said Mihalek. "Other residents rely on neighbors to help with their driveways. In addition, snow mounds are over 4 or 5 feet in many areas. Northgate Road, as well as the streets off of Northgate, are extremely narrow due to the amount of snow. The corner of Northgate and Jefferson poses an enourmous safety risk for both pededstrians and motorists due to the enormity of the snow mounds created when snow plow operators clear the streets by moving snow into these corners. There is a Melican bus stop in front of 112 Northgate as well as 136 Northgate and both bus stops like so many others in this area are extremely dangerous."
The only option, Mihalek, said, that children have if their parents are at work is to walk in the travel lane.
"Luckily I was home today, and picked up the children from the middle of the travel lane and drove them home safely," she said. "This is unacceptable. As for Proctor, there are several day care providers in the area that provide before school care and those children must walk from the day care providers homes to Proctor essentially in the travel lane of Washington and Jefferson Road."
Taking a drive around town, Route 135's sidewalks are plowed, as are the sidewalks near the Zeh School and sidewalks in many of the neighborhoods. The roads themselves are fairly easy to travel.
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"If school is on, then sidewalks leading to schools (within a mile of the schools) need to be done...before children are expected to be walking on them in the a.m.," said the Northgate resident. "My daughter is not a walker, but she has friends who are walkers. This is not O.K. If parents cannot drive and pick-up their children because of work, then children walking is the only option if they live within a mile of a school. Let's not forget that some students have bus stops on such main roads through town as Northgate and Otis Street."
Dan Nason, DPW director, said that "barring no mechanical failures, by the end of the evening, all of the sidewalks in town should be cleared. After tonight, the more than 13 miles of sidewalk will have been cleared by the public works staff."
Superintendent of Schools Charles Gobron, said that "We are in constant contact [with the DPW] and they are aware of the problem."