Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Are we headed toward spring or fall?

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Greg Peck
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I took our cairn terrier, Molly, for the usual predawn mile walk today but not before I strapped on ice cleats. I'm pretty sure if I hadn't done so, I would have fallen at least once before reaching home.

Maybe we should call this coming season fall instead of spring because if you're not careful, that's what you'll do.

We enjoyed our first thaw in a month on Tuesday. That, however, left sidewalks slick as temperatures dipped overnight. In some spots, walkways were glare ice.

I went out about 9:30 last night and tossed sand down along slick spots on our sidewalks. But it was obvious this morning that few people in my neighborhood bothered to apply sand or salt to their walks overnight.

We might be done shoveling snow this season, and we could only hope that's the case. That doesn't mean property owners can ignore their sidewalks, however. All the snow piled up along sidewalks, or even narrowing the walkways, will be melting in the coming weeks, and each time we have a thaw, water will be trickling across the concrete. Freezing temperatures overnight can leave dangerous spots for any unsuspecting walker or jogger, say nothing about tonight's forecast for possible mixed precipitation.

Sure, most of us who walk or jog regularly realize the risks are high on days like this. But here's the thing. You can be caught off guard. About two weeks ago, the air never got above 32 degrees one day, but the sun was just enough to melt a tad of snow. The next morning, Molly and I started our walk, going down our slanted driveway, and I stepped onto the sidewalk and—bam—down I went. I wasn't hurt but quickly retreated and retrieved my bucket of salt from the garage.

Spring might be coming, but this isn't the time to ignore slick sidewalk and icy hazards that could befall your loved ones, neighbors, mail or newspaper carriers, school children, or anyone else walking or jogging.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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