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Thousands of Lakewood kids walk to school, so shovel your sidewalks

Posted at 9:06 PM, Jan 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 06:43:41-05

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — The city of Lakewood’s mayor is sending a plea to all residents following the weekend snowstorm — shovel your sidewalks.

It’s for the safety of thousands of kids.

Although the district will be closed on Tuesday, the message is still the same.

The Lakewood School District is one of three in the entire state of Ohio that does not bus students, meaning that many walk — and if you haven’t shoveled, they’re coming up against piles of snow in their paths, forcing them onto the streets.

“It’s very unique. Lakewood is a small geographical city,” Mayor Mike Summers said. “We have over 5,000 kids and it was baked into our DNA that we walk to school. You grew up here, you walk to school, that’s just the way it is.”

Summers said it has been that way since Lakewood was built in the 1920s — and it’s a tradition that continues.

For the second year, the city has bought a sidewalk snow plow that takes care of all the streets surrounding the high school, including Hilliard Boulevard and Franklin Avenue up through W. 117th Street.

But Summers said he is hoping that homeowners surrounding the middle schools and elementary schools do their part as well. Another obstacle, Summers said, is the number of landlords and tenants who don’t take responsibility.

“So it’s a challenge for our community, so we have to push ourselves,” Summers said. “I appreciate your help to get the word out. Come on, let’s shovel, let’s get going here!”

Lakewood City Councilman Dan O’Malley said they have 180 miles of public sidewalks in the city, so it is a lot of ground to cover.

“But neighbors have really been pitching in and doing a great job,” O’Malley said.

He said they are proud of the fact that they have been ranked the most walkable city in the state of Ohio, but that they want to be walkable not just in the summertime — but through the middle of winter, even after a snowstorm.

“It’s not just good manners, it’s not just the right thing to do, but it’s also the law,” O’Malley said.

If you are elderly or disabled, or have neighbors who are, the city does have programs to help shovel snow.

Summers also wanted to remind folks who have vehicles buried under piles of snow in the streets -- you have 24 hours before they start handing out tickets and 48 hours before they begin towing.