Consider it your civic duty to make a call

Tuesday night’s 4-inch snowfall was a lot more than what we’ve seen in the past few weeks, but it was certainly no surprise, considering January is known for being one of the snowiest months in Illinois. While we might have narrowly missed some of the coldest days in Champaign-Urbana during winter break, there’s no doubt that winter isn’t over yet – just take a look outside.

The snowfall has made walking to class treacherous and traveling Green Street at night a huge hassle, and there’s no telling when we’ll be out of the woods. But complaining to your friends about the sidewalks and streets not being plowed, shoveled or salted isn’t going to change anything.

The passage of Champaign’s snow removal ordinance last year required property owners to clear or apply abrasives to sidewalks around their buildings within 48 hours of a significant snowfall or risk a bill after the city handled the removal.

And last year, the snow ordinance seemed to be working well. Lately, though, we’ve seen more snowy sidewalks and unsafe walkways, and not enough shovels. However, we can’t say that the city of Champaign is necessarily at fault; it’s a difficult ordinance to enforce. In fact, if the sidewalk from your apartment to the street isn’t cleared, and you don’t say anything about it, you might even be adding to the problem.

While it is the landlords’ and property and business owners’ direct responsibility to clear their sidewalks, it’s your responsibility to make a formal complaint if it doesn’t happen – not just walk down the hall to your roommate.

The relative inconvenience of a phone call is incomparable to slipping and sliding all the way to the Quad for classes.

So often, residents of Champaign-Urbana assume students are not truly a part of the community. Contributing to a plan meant to help everyone that lives and works here is a small step toward eliminating that perception.

If you own property in the Campustown or downtown districts, it’s your responsibility to be sure that you make every reasonable effort to clear the walks around your business or building.

If you’re trudging around Campustown when the weather gets nasty, surviving the walk can be made easier if every member of the community contributes.

Think of it as your civic duty to make that phone call or find a way to clear the sidewalk. Only good can come from everyone contributing rather than just complaining.