Sidewalks pose a hazard to student safety

Last week, while walking to my car to make a Pancheros run, I opted to walk on the edge of the sidewalk to avoid the massive puddle in the middle. The sidewalk was pretty icy, and as someone who stubbornly refuses to lay her Birkenstocks to rest in the winter, I ate it. I slammed to the ground with my backpack increasing my velocity because, well, that’s how gravity works. I am still sore from my near-death experience.

Okay, so as a reader you may be thinking, “Well why the heck is she wearing tractionless shoes in the iciest time of year?” However, I reserve my right to wear socks with sandals in all seasons, and refuse to accept the terrifying state of Concordia’s sidewalk maintenance.

Concordia’s sidewalks are probably the most differentiated terrain in all of Fargo-Moorhead. During the warmer months, the unevenness of these walkways pretty much goes unnoticed (except in the instances of rain when we are forced to walk to class through rivers). During the winter, our horrendous sidewalks are accentuated by the snow. As the seasons change, so do the sidewalks on campus –Tolerable (Summer-Fall), Literal Death (Winter), and My Dorm Is Going to Be Underwater Soon Please Send Life Rafts (Spring).

The best part of a big snowfall is knowing that when I wake up in the morning, I will be greeted with equal amounts of snow on the sidewalks as I am on the grass. The only difference is, the snow on the sidewalks will be much more compact. Our “snow blowers” don’t do much to aid in efforts of snow removal at all.

I liken them to hair trimmers, set to leave a certain amount of hair on the head. I guess Concordia’s maintenance has determined that our sidewalks don’t look so good bald. It would almost be better if we didn’t make any attempts at snow removal at all. At least that way the sidewalks wouldn’t be made slicker by simply smoothing over the snow.

Don’t get me wrong, I value and appreciate the work that Concordia’s maintenance crew does. Facilities management does quite a lot of work to keep this campus looking the way it does. But, as you may have noticed, the snow situation really gets me peeved. Obviously, there are some really great things about snow. But walking and driving on it are not those things.

As Concordia students, we are taught to be thoughtful men and women, sent into the world incredibly adept at waddling to and fro. Perhaps the most interesting time of year on this campus is when it starts to warm up just a bit. I’m talking temperatures that are just high enough to melt the snow during the day with the help of the sun, but fall below freezing again at night. During this time of year, we are welcomed by rivers in the day and ice rinks at night. At this point, it’s almost as if we are walking on the beach based on how much sand is on the ground. Which brings me to the next issue: Salt exists! Salt melts snow! I know, salt threatens grass. But ice is threatening my very existence. Sure, sand increases traction. But salt act ally solves the issue. If we aren’t going to remove the snow with machines, we can at least toss some salt on the ground. Although I will admit, I will miss watching students plummet to the ground and laughing, forgetting that I was that student just the other day.

And with that, I leave your corn buttered (and salted).


1 Comment

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    While I agree that walking anywhere around here is asking for trouble, salt actually deals expensive damage to concrete. Sanding is the best that can be done for sidewalk areas (though it is not done enough, so Concordia definitely needs to step up its game there). This does not eliminate the possibility of salting the parking lots, however, which are equally treacherous and hardly treated at all, salt or otherwise.

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