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“A Slippery Return To My Hometown”

This morning I was catching up on some emails when I came across a correspondence from Patricia L. who said that she was struck by an essay that I posted yesterday regarding Wintermission and the safety concerns revolving around walking Buffalo’s snowy and icy sidewalks. This is what she had to say:

I have been reading your newsletter for the past 2 years with great interest because, as someone who left Buffalo in 1978 for greater opportunities in my career and education, I have always wanted to see progress in my hometown.  And now, after several false starts, “the change” is finally taking hold and I couldn’t be happier for friends and family who still call Buffalo home.

Your last post on Wintermission in Buffalo caught my attention.  I am a health and fitness professional who wants and needs to stay fit no matter where I travel.  My husband and sold our home and are traveling and living in different parts of the world and the challenge to do that presents itself everyday.  I visited Buffalo this past January, after a major snowstorm left lots of snow and ice on sidewalks and roads.

During this visit, I chose to walk a few miles to stores to fulfill errands for my mom.  As I was walking down Elmwood Avenue in Kenmore, I slipped on thick ice and fell in front of a store, hurting my knee.  After this happened, I began to notice all the ads on television or storefronts for attorneys who specialize in slip and fall lawsuits.

Although I was not severely injured in this fall, the fear of it happening again was in my head.  In order to make people feel better about walking or exercising outdoors on City sidewalks and streets, I suggest the following:

  1. Help storeowners and homeowners understand the importance of keeping their sidewalks free of snow and ice in order to achieve community responsibility, prevent lawsuits and keep business coming in.
  2. Help motorists understand the people walking on the roads might not have an alternative because of the dangerous conditions on sidewalks – increase their attention and caution.

Regarding improving Buffalo’s image as a snow city, you are already getting help from new sources that are touting Buffalo as a haven from climate change.  Take the info and run with it but most importantly, convince the residents of Buffalo to embrace all the wonderful things that make Buffalo unique, including proximity to a water activities on beautiful Lake Erie; trail running in Southtowns; bike riding along the Erie Canal; low cost housing; renowned medical facilities; world class universities; etc.

-Patricia L.

USATriathlon Level II Coach
USA Track & Field Endurance II Coach
USS Masters Swim Level III Coach

Over and over we hear that snow and ice covered sidewalks in Buffalo are a deterrent to visitors embracing this city in the wintertime, and even residents simply walking to and from the shops. Hopefully the more people speak up about the issue, public officials will step up and implement ways/incentives that will help solve the ongoing problem. What would be especially prudent would be to have a third party analyze just how impactful all of this actually is. And maybe the results could trigger some direct actions? At this point, the only ones that would lose out by having reliably shoveled sidewalks are the lawyers.

Whether it’s municipal snow clearing, expanding upon Wintermission’s shoveling incentives, or implementing the Yeti app, it’s time to demand action.

Lead image from Street Walker: Winter Style

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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