Walkability and ice storms

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No one had left the house since I got home from work Friday afternoon, and the plan was that no one would leave the house at all today, until my daughter woke up complaining of a very sore throat. So I made a trip to the drugstore late this morning, hoping to get there and back before the freezing rain began.

Our driveway has a bit of a slope, and I had my doubts as to whether I could get back up the hill on the Zamboni-quality sheet of ice that had been laid down on Friday. To avoid that problem, I even considered walking to the drugstore, only about 3/4 mile away, but I didn't like the idea of walking back through an Icee downpour.

While it's certainly possible to get hurt walking on ice and snow, you can't do as much damage as you can with a car, and you have more possible paths to follow. On foot, you're not as likely to get stuck behind someone trying unsuccessfully to get up a hill.

The new supermarket in our neighborhood is scheduled to open on Wednesday. It will be wonderful to be able walk a couple of blocks, without going onto a major street, to pick up necessities.

In the winter of 2004, I spent several weeks in East Aurora, New York, about 20 miles southeast of Buffalo and just as susceptible to heavy lake-effect snows. A heavy snow was already falling as I flew in for my first trip, right after New Year's. I took it slowly and made it to the hotel all right. But now there was at least a foot of snow on the ground, the plows had yet to catch up, I had yet to get anything for dinner, and the hotel didn't have a restaurant.

If I'd been in a typical suburban hotel, surrounded by parking lots and office buildings, I'd have been stuck with eating from the vending machine. In East Aurora, there was no problem. I put on my snow boots, walked one block up to Main Street, and stepped into a cozy tavern, where I read the newspaper over a slice of prime rib and a Guinness. I had three or four other good choices within a couple of blocks. It didn't hurt that, with the snow falling, East Aurora's Main Street is like a scene out of It's a Wonderful Life.

EAST AURORA EXTRA: Photo sets of the whimsically painted fire hydrants of East Aurora, Arts-and-Crafts movement inspired trash cans on the town's Main Street, and the town's classic five-and-dime, Vidler's. And, finally, here are my photos of East Aurora from January and May 2004.

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1 Comments

Sneakz said:

The major complaint that I have about the DC Metro area is the high ice to snow ratio during winter storms. The skier (and northeasterner) in me prefers the puffy white stuff.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 14, 2007 2:33 PM.

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