So we have survived yet another winter, this with uncountable numbers of days below 0 degrees F. We are now in the early days of meteorological Spring, where the daytime temperatures are above freezing, but the nighttime temperatures fall below that magic number. This means yesterday afternoon’s thin puddles of waters and rivers of runoff are this morning’s thin sheets of ice.
Large sheets of ice are of course bad for cars, which if they cannot control their ton or two of hardware with their four points of contact on the road risk spinning out.
But even small sheets of ice are perilous for pedestrians, with far less force than two tons applied at only two points of contact on the sidewalk.
Further conditions for pedestrians are worse as roads have been actively cleared all winter. Where did that snow go? Well the Boulevards between the road and the sidewalk, and sometimes the sidewalk itself.
Even further, roads are wide and therefore get more direct sunlight, while the sidewalks are often shaded, and thus cooler, and thus have a prolonged freeze-thaw cycle.
Moreover, sidewalks are generally in as bad or worse condition as roads (prove me wrong with your sophisticated sidewalk monitoring system data). Not just cracks and spalling of concrete, but unlevelness, settling, and so on, all of which are great places for water to accumulate.
Finally sidewalks often have very steep snowbanks on both sides, caused both by shoveling show from the sidewalk and plowing it from the street, which continuously melts in this period of the season in the day, and freezes in the afternoon.
(in fact a year ago). I am not (yet) suggesting we don’t plow the roads. However if we had not plowed the roads, the sidewalks and the boulevards would all be mostly clear by now.