The Heart of the Matter

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A letter from Mayor Robert Hale

Mayor Hale

The Heart of the Matter

Sidewalks in Winter:  I know, I know; it has been a dry winter up to now.  But winter brings hazards that need to be addressed.  A few streets in our city have brand new sidewalks – mine being one of those.  When the first light snowfalls of the winter came, I had to learn how to best shovel the new sidewalk in front of my home.  Other than my driveway and helping elderly neighbors, I hadn’t done that since 1969 when I lived at home with my parents!

 Homeowners, businesses and property managers are responsible to keep sidewalks safe for pedestrians year-round, but especially after a snowfall.  Push sidewalk snow onto your property, not into the gutter or street.  The city snowplows will likely push street snow onto your sidewalks anyway.  If you have pushed your snow into the street before the snowplow makes a pass, you’ll just have to shovel it again.  When there are elderly or disabled neighbors, and you are physically able to do so, give them the blessing of your time while you clean their walks, too.

 Shoveling while snow is loose is many times easier than pushing it off when it has become packed or melted and refrozen into ice.  Yes, and a little ice-melt enhances your ability to reduce ice or slush down to bare concrete again.

Winter Driving in Midvale:  In my career in the Postal Service, I called letter carriers that delivered in delivery units like Midvale, “flat-landers.”  Unlike many delivery zones to the east against the foothills and alluvial plains, where slopes are commonplace, we have fairly level topography.  A blessing, no doubt.  But therein lies the hidden danger!  Drivers, me and you, can get lackadaisical and complacent thinking we can increase our vehicle’s inertia, turn our vehicle direction, shift lanes, or decrease inertia to a stop in just the same distance and time on slick roads as we can on dry roads.  But the negative energy of friction is greatly reduced with moisture on the roadway, driveway or parking lot.

Why even with groovy new snow tires, if we drive on ice, there will be practically no friction between the tires of our vehicle and Mother Earth.  Four-wheel drive option is also virtually meaningless on ice!  On snow, life can stand still if we begin to skid (slip ratio in the diagram), for this is when our vehicle seems to take so much time and distance to slow and come to a stop.

 Midvale Citizens, let us resolve: (1) To take time to drive and walk safely when moisture is present.  (2) Don’t get shifty in your lane when crossing bridges.  (3) Start your trip earlier, don’t hurry, arrive alive!  (4) Keep our part (and a neighbor’s part) of the city sidewalk network clean and safe, too!