Before Christmas, Londoners got a taste of what it’s like for people with mobility limitations in the winter during an intense snowstorm that dropped close to 3 feet of snow on our fair city. As the snow kept falling and the snowbanks grew higher and higher, people took to the Internets to complain about going a little stir crazy stuck in their homes for two or three days because of the storm. The unfunny reality is that being trapped inside for days on end is common for those of us in wheelchairs and scooters. Without transportation or sidewalk clearing in London, we’re often stuck in our houses for a majority of the London winter, meaning two or three months of isolation rather than two or three days. If the sidewalks were cleared and we had access to transportation, it would be a different story entirely. Unfortunately, city council repeatedly votes any such measures down as being “too expensive.”
This isn’t a complaint about being disabled or a “woe is us” moment, but rather a time to look critically at the problem while weighing the true cost of this issue. Deciding whether or not to clear a sidewalk cannot be based on how much it costs, monetarily, but rather on the cost to peoples’ sanity as they stew away in their homes, snowbound for months at a time. To borrow a phrase: Mr. Fontana…teeaarr dooown these snow walls!