Be thankful, not bitter, at winter weather cleanup efforts

By Daily Illini Editorial Board

This winter has been among the snowiest ever for much of the Central Illinois region — although we feel like we hear that every year. The snow has hit the campus area hard and created a variety of safety and transit problems persisting for weeks. 

Many individuals, even the most cautious folk, have slipped and fallen on some form of ice this winter. And, in many situations, individuals with mobility issues have found their way to class, their dorm and their extracurricular activities virtually inaccessible.   

We’re sick of slipping on the ice, snow, slush and so on that has accumulated due to the lackluster snow-clearing efforts of a variety of landlords, Greek houses and other private businesses on campus. Frankly, we think a lot of these organizations deserve to be held responsible for their failure to do so, and others deserve to be praised.  

Per the City of Champaign, “Property owners within the City’s University District and Downtown Business District are required to remove snow from sidewalks after at least two (2) inches of accumulation and also after accumulations of ice, sleet, or freezing rain.” 

Clearing is required within 48 hours of a declaration by the City’s Public Works Director. You can do your part by filing a nuisance complaint against a non-compliant business or privately-owned property with Champaign on the City of Champaign’s neighborhood services department page.  

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    Urbana has similar requirements, but requires clearing of a snow and ice nuisance within 24 hours of a declaration by their Public Works Director. Complaints can be lodged by calling the Urbana Environmental Compliance Officer at 217-384-2416.

    That said, several entities, including the University, the Champaign Police Department and the Champaign-Urbana MTD deserve our thanks for doing a great job of ensuring our safety so far this winter. 

    The University, especially the individuals working in Facilities and Services, has stayed on top of the weather and getting its paths cleared within a reasonable amount of time. University officials also have been prompt about sending out emails to the keep the campus community abreast of snow clearing efforts and upcoming inclement conditions. 

    As reported in The Daily Illini last week, members of the Champaign Police Department also got in on the act by personally salting sidewalks (in response to vast amounts of evening-venturing slips and falls) while the Champaign Public Works Department was consumed with street clearing activity. 

    We also would like to tip our hats to MTD for meeting our transit needs in admirable fashion in spite of the weather. Just like the University, MTD has made a diligent effort to keep their property, such as their bus stops, clear of snow and ice. 

    Additionally, many of us have still been able to get to work, class, the gym and beyond thanks to the great efforts of MTD bus drivers who have had to put up with really rotten driving conditions this entire semester. Be sure to thank your driver at the end of your next trip.

    We students are sometimes so focused on what we don’t have — such as wholly cleared streets and sidewalks immediately following inclement weather — that we often disregard what we do have — such as a police department that is willing to go out of its way to make paths around campus more accessible, despite snow and ice clean ups not falling specifically into its jurisdiction; bus drivers that transported mass amounts of students to and from their designations, all while continuously getting stuck in the snow and having to reroute; a University that keeps its students updated on threatening weather conditions and the status of University operations. 

    So, thank you, University of Illinois, for doing your best when conditions were far from ideal.