Working together to improve walkability

Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma unveiled a new program at Monday’s city council meeting, a program aimed at improving the walkability in Minot neighborhoods.

The Adopt a Sidewalk program is seeking organizations and individuals to help remove snow from sidewalks on property owned by the city.

“As a community, we want to work together to make our city accessible and safe to residents who use our sidewalks every day, and that includes many people who walk to work and many children who walk to and from school,” Sipma said in a news release. “We’re appealing to adjacent property owners and service clubs as examples of who might participate in this program.”

The City of Minot, as we all know, has acquired considerable property in the flood zone and has assumed the responsibility of keeping the sidewalks cleared. One can easily see where Sipma is coming from in reaching out for help with moving what could be a mountain of snow from city property.

Sipma is only being responsible, and frugal. Bless his heart for that. Truth be told, though, countless sidewalks in the valley and in neighborhoods above the valley have not been consistently shoveled over the past many years, decades for that matter.

In the 1950s and ’60s kids could make pretty-good money by shoveling sidewalks in the winter. Still, plenty of homeowners sent the youths packing, not wanting to pay for the service – or do it themselves. Kids walking to school, letter carriers making their rounds, casual walkers – all had to blaze new trails at one time or another.

The city has not been blameless. Over the years many neighborhoods have been developed without sidewalks, which hinders accessibility as surely as not shoveling a sidewalk where one has been poured.

Sipma also urged residents to reach out to neighbors who may have accessibility problems and adopt neighborhood sidewalks to keep free of snow this winter.

Perhaps that is the best solution Sipma proposed. Calling on people to help their neighbors in need works here. Heck, people do such good deeds without being prompted. Sipma is not wrong and even greater emphasis may have to be placed on Good Samaritans if the coming winter turns harsh.

Adopt a Sidewalk is a good start to finally solving the slippery sidewalk situation that has only gotten worse in Minot since the flood.