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Icy Sidewalks in Port Chester and Rye Brook are a Sign of Disrespect by Julie Corbalis

Port Chester Metro North 2014
Port Chester Metro North 2014

One of the things I love about living in the Rye Brook/Port Chester area is I can walk to everything I need and/or want:  local grocery stores, the post office and library, hardware store, pizza shops, Metro North, and even a major live music venue are all just steps from my home!  The luxury to walk should feel even sweeter now, what with all of this snow and ice everywhere.  Parking on these snowy streets is a nightmare and I'm happy to leave my car home until Spring.  

That being said, lately I am so disappointed with the snow removal on the sidewalks of both Rye Brook and Port Chester.  On Thursday, Feb. 20, I walked from my apartment near the corner of Westchester Ave and North Ridge St. to the Port Chester Metro North Train Station.  It was the warmest day in weeks and I was happy to get out and move around after so much snow!  As I approached the Bowman Ave. intersection the sidewalk on the south side of Westchester Ave. was impassable!  It was a strip of bumpy, week-old ice!  After attempting to maneuver in my Converse sneakers for about 20 feet, I decided that, rather than risk my life on the ice, I would risk my life on the dry road, foolishly walking with my back to speeding traffic.  I had no choice: there was no way to cross the road through or over snow banks before reaching the crosswalk, over 100 yards ahead. 

At the corner of Westchester Ave. and Regent St. I was finally able to cross the road with caution (I cannot use the word "safely.").  I was appalled to see that none of the wheelchair accessible sections of the sidewalk had been shoveled:  they were all buried under the mountains of dirty plowed snow.  As I descended the hill, passing the Carver Center, Knights of Columbus, the library and Post Office, block after block posed similar treacherous pedestrian issues.  

I thought for sure the Metro North Station would be clear of ice, but of course, I was wrong.  At the corner of Broad St. and Westchester Ave. a construction crew was tearing up the concrete alongside El Tio restaurant.  "No problem," I thought to myself, "I'll cross the street and walk alongside the Metro North parking lot."  Impossible.  The sidewalk adjacent to the lot had never even been cleared: another mountain of snow.  So, back into the street I veered, dangerously walking with traffic, up to the station entrance.  Some might ask, "Why didn't you walk under the overpass and up the steps to the platform?"  In case you're wondering:  the sidewalk under the overpass was a bumpy sheet of filthy ice.  Once I bought my ticket, I stood on the southernmost section of the platform and watched person after person clumsily try to approach and read the map route at the bus stop below me.  (I took a picture). 

Throughout the afternoon I wondered, "How are families with baby carriages, shopping carts and small children navigating these sidewalks and streets?  How is anyone confined to a wheel chair or who had a hip replaced getting around in Rye Brook and/or Port Chester?  How many people, young and old alike, have hurt themselves traversing these sidewalks going to work, school, religious services, shopping and visiting relatives?  Sadly, the answer is probably: dozens.

Port Chester and Rye Brook governments: YOU CAN DO BETTER.   Were those landlords along the south side of Westchester Ave. ticketed for not clearing the ice from the sidewalks in front of their properties?  I hope so.  Was Metro North given a summons for not shoveling the sidewalks surrounding the station?  I hope so.  Do you have a plan to do a better job shoveling and de-icing the sidewalks that homeowners are not responsible for the next time it snows?  I hope so! 

The thing is, these impassable sidewalks are evidence of complete disrespect for the people of our communities who walk or take the bus rather than drive a car.  Those of us who choose the more environmentally friendly route are punished with lazy sidewalk snow removal and slick conditions.  The roads have been clear for days, and it's relatively safe to drive around these streets.  Why can't pedestrians be shown the same respect? 

There are things we can do right now to make our sidewalks safer during the Winter.  Why not organize a community service effort for our high school students in Rye Brook and Port Chester?  Groups of students can be assigned to shovel and clear small sections of high foot-traffic areas along Westchester Ave. after school.  The villages can provide shovels, or students can bring their own if they have one.  Maybe the local Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, or other local coffee shop or deli can give vouchers for hot cocoa for those who participated.  The sidewalks will get shoveled properly and students will gain some pride knowing they helped people be safer in their communities. 

Our towns have done a pretty good job keeping up with snow removal on the our roadways this winter.  Now it is time for the towns to show some respect and care for those of us who use the sidewalks. 

Mike Tedesco February 25, 2014 at 09:20 AM
Shoulda wore boots
Silvio V. Buccieri February 25, 2014 at 03:25 PM
its a the sign of time. OBAMA said stay home and wait for a check, so why work? this is why you have snow on the side walks...
Craig Noor February 25, 2014 at 03:48 PM
Silvio, your comment is trenchant (look that one up). Ms. Corbalis I hope you have contacted the MTA, and been persistent and not accepted the runaround - I had success using this approach to get them to cut the 1 1/2 foot high grass a couple of summers ago. But you really have to be stubborn about it - I know it is valuable to mention this to the community but really the community at large can only do so much about it. Same with the village but they will address things a lot quicker, and deserve more credit, than does Metro-North. The village is also truly stressed in terms of resources so i cut them more slack - but Metro North is top heavy with big earners rather than shoveling the dadblamed snow so have at them.
Concerned Homeowner February 25, 2014 at 06:12 PM
You writing this article is a sign of disrespect. Take your blinders off lady, our Dpw workers were out there for countless hours, days, nights, and overnights removing snow. You want better quality service then what you got? Then pay better quality money when it comes time to talk about getting Dpw new and more advanced equipment and more personnel. Then you'll be writing an article on why taxes are too high. Find something else to complain about.
bernie February 26, 2014 at 05:32 AM
Julie I cannot agree with you more. The village of Port Chester does And always has done a horrible job with snow cleanup on the streets and sidewalks. You are absolutely right this is not fair to people walking the streets people with special needs People with wheelchairs navigating through Snow and ice covered sidewalks. It's not that the village workers have to do this sidewalk cleaning is that the village needs to enforce Landlords homeowners and Metro-North to clean the Snow and ice on sidewalks . The village of Port Chester Is the highest tax rate in the country So this type of outcome Should not be tolerated .
Craig Noor February 26, 2014 at 01:25 PM
Concerned Homeowner you are the one who needs to take off their glasses - at least long enough to look at the photograph with this article and similar ones that appeared in the Westmore News. You need not speculate as to how Ms. Corbalis would respond to higher taxes used to provide essential services (and believe me - the ability to walk to the train without sliding across sheets of ice is essential for many people). She may well support such a measure - I certainly would. Metro-North is pretty danged awful about this by the way - as I stated I hope people will contact them, not let them weasel their way out of it or blow you off etc. Concerned Homeowner - if you were trying and failing to walk to the train station over a sheet of ice 2 weeks after a storm do you really think your reaction would be - "well, I'm sure the people responsible are doing their best, and it would be disrespectful of me to complain"? And as for the "countless hours" - you do know they get paid more money for working more hours, right?
Julie Corbalis February 28, 2014 at 10:09 PM
Next storm I will publish the addresses of lazy homeowners with pictures. Wouldn't want to hurt my town government's feelings :)
Frank B. March 03, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Now that most of the sidewalks are clear of ice and snow, another sign of disrespect is surfacing; the littered streets. Discarded tv's and food, fastfood wrappers, broken glass, unclaimed newspapers and too much more. Whether tossed out of moving car by a lowlife or blown away from a recycling container the trash is everywhere and must be dealt with. Seems many residents are ignoring the debris. It's annoying to repeatedly pick up the garbage but it needs to be done. The village employees should not have to clean the sidewalks in front of private homes the residents should, whatever happened to pride in ownership? For further disrepect, I have to address the overwhelming, intrusive and incessant honking car horns . In my neighborhood it starts in the early AM and sometimes goes on past midnight. It's mostly taxi's, and when I approached a driver about it he told me I "should wear headphones it you don't like it, we have customers to service" customers who it seems are never ready for their ride, so we pay the price with more daily noise. The quality of life here deteriorates more each day.
JJ March 03, 2014 at 11:51 AM
Frank B. I agree with 100% ! The quality of life in PC stinks...
Bryan Zeballos March 05, 2014 at 05:41 AM
Frank B welcome to Port Chester.
Bryan Zeballos March 05, 2014 at 05:42 AM
Get over yourself Frank B
Frank B. March 05, 2014 at 09:50 AM
Bryan Z, what have I stated that is not truth? Take off your rose colored glasses
shirley March 05, 2014 at 10:28 AM
Frank B, I completely agree with you!! Some pc residents are seriously worst than animals. No respect for others no self pride for their homes.

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