Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Some Concrete Complaints
Commentary. All right, all right, a complaint!
A neighbor of Wesleyan University sent along several photos to illustrate a complaint.
When Wesleyan clears sidewalks during and after snowstorms, it uses small snowplows attached to small groundkeeping vehicles. These vehicles are operated, largely, by the landscaping company which cares for Wesleyan's grounds - Stonehedge.
Inevitably, the plow blades on these vehicles are wider than most sidewalks on and off campus. The result, as shown in the photos, are muddy ruts cut into the lawn on both sides of the concrete slabs. These ruts can be seen everywhere around campus until the grass begins to grow later in the spring, and in places where re-seeding does not take place, the ruts remain year round. In isolated cases, the plows have torn into roots of trees, and in some cases, weakening trees already damaged by overhead wire crews.
This methodology of plowing, instead of shoveling or snowblowing, is likely cheaper and quicker. Unfortunately the use of these plows has lead the university to replace nearly all bluestone slate sidewalks because they make plowing impossible, and the slate is destroyed if plows are used. The plows also damage sidewalks, driveway curbing and ornamental stonework on walks.
One suggestion is to return to shoveling, making it an activity of students who can use the work as credit against tuition and fees.
In a related complaint, my own, while there are ugly sidewalk ruts on my block, what's more offensive is garbage containers left on the curb all week long by residents of Wesleyan houses. When we complain, university officials tell us the garbage containers are the responsibility of residents. Unfortunately, if the residents aren't responsible, the garbage cans never get hauled off the street. This doesn't just happen when students are on break. It's a problem anytime school is in session and students are in those houses.