UK, professors should consider those who walk

Letter to Editor by Shannon Frazer

I’m not the only one complaining about school being in session despite the snowy conditions around campus. And it’s with good reason that students and university employees are unhappy.

The complaints don’t stem from a united preference to be cooped up in residence halls, apartments and houses all day instead of going to class; rather (at least in my case) I dread the commute on foot. Stomping through ice, snow and slush is no fun, especially when I live a few short blocks from campus.

It’s frustrating that Lexington requires its property owners to uphold their own sidewalks, even when they are adjacent to heavily-travelled roadways and get a lot of student traffic. I mean, do you see how much snow there is out there?

Even if those residents were outside for hours at a time with heavy-duty shovels, the forecast for more snow in the coming days is certainly bound to generate more aggravation than concern among the tenants.

According to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County government’s Web site, Lexington’s Department of Public Works and Kentucky Department of Highways control city snow and ice removal from public roadways. It has a fleet of 49 snow plows.  Snow emergency routes are designated across Lexington, and I think a similar practice should be put in place for the campus and surrounding communities.

A Feb. 1 posting on the LFUCG Web site reminded residents to clear snow and ice as soon as possible. It said, “City ordinance requires homeowners or occupants to be responsible for clearing the sidewalks on their property within four hours of a snowfall or ice storm.”

Obviously near-campus residents consider clearing the sidewalks a lost cause if snow will only pile up there again. And if other students and Lexington inhabitants have to coordinate alternate transportation or not go to class at all, it’s the weather’s fault.

Kentucky’s unpredictable winters make it difficult to come up with a standard transportation plan, though.

I’ve heard of an initiative taken by some northern college campuses to install heated sidewalks for icy winter months.  While I believe UK  probably has some larger financial issues to address before its sidewalks (and don’t get me wrong, I admire the campus grounds crew for their efforts in maintaining the walkways on campus), students’ safety should be a priority.

I would at least like to bring this issue to the attention of UK professors and instructors. If students are late to class because of car issues or are forced to walk to class on unshoveled pavement, expect some delay, or worse, some injury. It’s not our fault we have to trek through what winter indiscriminately left on our doorsteps.

Shannon Frazer

journalism senior