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Concord rethinks sidewalk snowplowing

City plows were out cleaning sidewalks including Pleasant St. Extenstion as snow continued to fall

(Concord Monitor photo/Ken Williams)

City plows were out cleaning sidewalks including Pleasant St. Extenstion as snow continued to fall (Concord Monitor photo/Ken Williams) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

With the consolidation of Concord elementary schools and the replacement of old equipment, the city is re-prioritizing its plan for snowplowing sidewalks.

The city council approved the purchase of two new sidewalk tractors, which “will dramatically increase productivity,” according to City Manager Tom Aspell. The city has had eight machines that can plow sidewalks, Aspell wrote in a report to the mayor and city council last month. Due to the equipment’s age, he said all eight units were rarely used at the same time. But the new sidewalk tractors, along with changes to the Concord School District, allowed the city to change its plans. The new plan outlined in Aspell’s report also makes plowing sidewalks on Loudon Road a higher priority than in the past.

“The opportunity to significantly improve services to the community in terms of public safety, particularly for school aged children, those without means of vehicular transportation and pedestrians as a whole exists,” Aspell wrote.

In the past, the city had a three-level system for plowing sidewalks. First, downtown Concord was plowed, followed by the four safe walk to school routes: Kimball School and a section near Dewey School; Walker School; Rumford School; and Dame School. All other city sidewalks were the last priority for snow removal.

Downtown Concord, or the same 6.6 miles of sidewalk that are currently the city’s first priority, would still be plowed first same under a new plan.

But the second level priority of safe walk to school routes would cover 11.6 miles, compared to 8.8 miles under the old priority levels. The following areas would be plowed after downtown sidewalks with the new system, according to Aspells report:

∎ Christa McAuliffe School.

∎ Abbott Downing School and Rundlett Middle School.

∎ Merrimack Valley High School, Merrimack Valley Middle School, Penacook Elementary School and Beaver Meadow School.

∎ Loudon Road from Centre Street to D’Amante Drive.

The remaining 70.6 miles of sidewalk in Concord would be plowed after snow is removed in other areas.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

How is it that every elementary school in the city is a priority except Mill Brook primary on the East Side? The city requires children to walk to school who leave near the school but doesn't want to make these street a priority and clear the sidewalks near the school in winter? Kids end up walking in the roadway because the sidewalks are not cleared!!! It is dangerous and unsafe, especially on Portsmouth Street and South Curtisville road. The city needs to change this and make it a priority before a serious accident occurs.

Stop the presses!!! According to Tom Aspell, the proposal included Mill Brook and BGS. After they plow Loudon road, they are heading over to the streets surrounding the East Side schools. If approved, a big thank you for making this happen. I know a lot of us over here have asked for this for many years to make it safer for the kids!!

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