Snow-covered sidewalks pose danger to children

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 17:52:02-05
They are those cute fluorescent footprints intended to show children in Baltimore City the safe routes to their schools, but with most of them covered by heaps of snow, the most traveled routes right now are on the shoulders of the street.

"That's most definitely a concern of them walking in the street, because I believe it was like in 2010, a child got hit going to school," said Lateia Haines, who has three children in city schools.

At a time when the safety of the sidewalks remains secondary to plowing the streets, it appears the city is backing off on threats to fine residents who leave theirs buried.

Paul Graziano is the city's housing commissioner.

"We want to make it clear to folks, we're not going after homeowners,” said Graziano, “We're not focused on the residential neighborhoods.  I've driven around the city the last several days and I just see people doing it voluntarily.  They're stepping up.  They're doing the right thing."

In fact, Graziano is counting on that same community involvement to help remove the snow from the sidewalks in front of as many as 15,000 vacant homes.

"I think a lot of it... we hope that people just as a good neighbor will get in there and take care of the stretch of sidewalk in front of the vacant next door or whatever,” said Graziano, “but we'll be monitoring that as well and if there's clearly an obstruction---maybe a row of vacants on a critical pathway, we'll have to deal with that."

It's an optimistic view not shared by Lateia Haines.

"They've got to get a lot of that stuff done, because you know they're not going to shovel it if no one's living there.  We just want to make sure our kids are safe out here, and this stuff has got to go."