Proposed pedestrian advisory committee may help winter walkers

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — You might not even know there was a sidewalk along Pequot Avenue if it wasn’t for the snow melting on top of a manhole cover in the sidewalk. Unshoveled sidewalks may be one of the issues a new Pedestrian Advisory Committee could tackle.

New London City Councilor Michael Passero says residents and businesses have failed to clear their sidewalks, forcing folks like Pati Macrino to walk her dog, Petey, in the street.

“There is no consistent shoveling, so you may end up with a snow barrier halfway through your walk on the sidewalk,” said Macrino. “There are still slippery areas.”

Passero proposed the formation of the committee, which could look into getting the sidewalks across the city cleared so walkers don’t run into the same barriers next winter.

“Some people just say enforce the ordinance, fine the people,” said Passero. “It’s not really that easy.”

The proposed committee, made up of seven residents and business owners, would work on making the city more pedestrian-friendly and look at ways to make the ordinance better. Members may make suggestions, like possibly having volunteers or students clear the sidewalks, or have the city do it and then seek reimbursement.

“Can the city afford it?” asks Passero. “Can the city put the money up front and then go chasing after the property owners to get the money? That’s an issue.”

“I mean, I just think it comes down to being responsible and doing the right thing,” said Macrino. “If you don’t, I think you have to answer for it.”

Once all the snow melts this issue, which seems so pressing, may be forgotten. That’s why the city councilor wants to have the advisory committee established by the city council’s March 16th meeting. He’s also hoping the committee could present a comprehensive plan and suggestions to the city council by October 15th so some of the same sidewalk problems are not repeated.

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