News

Watch Your Step

It's a cold, cold world out there for people on foot. While Mayor Hick had his scraping fleets quadruple-plowing the main drags during and after the second blast of holiday snow, as if to prove a point (I imagine him riding atop the biggest plow in town, waving his biggest cowboy hat in a pre-stock-show exposition of civic enthusiasm), the mounds of dirty snow piled up higher and higher along the edges of the roadways: miniature Himalayas that taunted unwilling urban outdoor adventurers to climb their ragged peaks. I might add that, from my own personal point of view, a mid-storm fire-hydrant mishap in the neighborhood left Mississippi (and the alley in my complex) an inpenetrable ice rink. I'm thinking seriously of switching to skates altogether.

I live near Monaco and Mississippi and take the 83L bus to work; it's a quick and direct route, but a walk of a few blocks from my home, which normally takes no more than ten minutes to traverse. After the first storm, RTD did have buses running when I returned to work on Friday, but on a holiday schedule that left the suddenly popular transit option overcrowded and risky. Some people stood in the street, watching overladen buses pass them by. I was lucky, although there was no place to catch my bus unless I also walked down the middle of Leetsdale Drive alongside the approaching motor-behemoth. Like mine, most stops were completely buried.

Nearly two weeks later, I've tried just about every route I can think of just to get to my bus stop, only to find that there's still no bus stop to be seen. I've zig-zagged through parking lots, climbed gritty, icy peaks and skated down sidewalks where the constant melt-and-freeze routine's left ice as smooth as, well, ice: pure, unadulterated ice passable only to mountain goats and Apolo Ohno. You've got to be surefooted, in other words, to cross these vast, steely sheets. Or very, very quick. And then you hope the driver sees you.

So, anyway, here's my question: Who's standing up for the pedestrians and the transit riders? Not the city. Not RTD. Every street is a lumpy, bumpy side-road for us. -- Susan Froyd

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts