Icy off-campus roads hinder Ohio State students
Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 6, 2013 23:01
Ohio State student Natalie Van Atta noticed the icy off-campus streets when she came back to Columbus on New Year’s Eve.
“We were on Norwich (Avenue), a one-way (street), with cars (parked) on both sides of the street, and the cars were on top of mounds of snow,” said Van Atta, a third-year in nursing who lives on Woodruff Avenue. “I remember us commenting about how the area didn’t look cleared at all and how ridiculous and dangerous it was to drive in an already narrow space with ice everywhere.”
Ron Sidwell, a fourth-year in international studies and German, said Saturday that the off-campus streets posed a problem for him as well.
“I live on Norwich Avenue, and where you parallel park wasn’t cleared off at all,” Sidwell said. “I was already parked there so it was just really hard to get out of the spot.”
The street had not been salted, Sidwell said.
“I kept spinning out because of the ice,” he said. “I eventually shoveled myself out. It took about 40 minutes.”
The Columbus Department of Public Service focuses its attention on portions of state routes 315 and 104 and U.S. 33, then arterial streets, which are high capacity urban roads such as High Street and Broad Street. After Public Service clears the high-traffic areas, its workers plow the lower capacity streets that connect the residential streets to the arterial streets. The residential streets are plowed only after four inches of snow are on the ground, said Rick Tilton, the assistant director of the Department of Public Service.
Tilton said roads are treated differently based on what they are used for.
“One of the things you have to keep in mind when we go into residential is that we do not plow down to bare pavement,” Tilton said.
Bare pavement is only seen on the arterial and collector streets because they are high-traffic areas that work the chemicals into the pavement, and the heat of cars contribute to melting the snow and ice, Tilton said.
“You don’t see that kind of traffic on residential streets,” he said. “Putting salt down on residential streets is counterproductive because you need the high volume of traffic for it to really work.”
Besides residential streets, several students complained about the sidewalks off campus being hazardous to walk on over the weekend, even though it hasn’t snowed in Columbus since Jan. 1.
“The ice on the sidewalks, especially on Chittenden (Avenue) is always really bad,” said Maria Reckziegel, a third-year in food science and technology, who lives on Woodruff Avenue Friday. “I fell a couple times.”
Although sidewalks are used by the public, it is property owners’ responsibility to repair and maintain the sidewalk outside of their property. This includes ice and snow removal, Tilton said.
“I assumed that the city was supposed to clean and ice the sidewalks,” Reckziegel said.
Third-year in electrical engineering and Frambes Avenue resident, Ed Wells said that his landlord made it clear to him and his roommates that it was the renters’ responsibility to take care of the sidewalks.
“I shoveled the sidewalk as much as I could over break,” he said. “I plan on taking care of it as much as I can.”
The Ohio State Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement, Community Ambassadors and the Undergraduate Student Government have been helping students clear the ice off campus by giving away free buckets of salt at the Ohio Union over break. In addition, there will be Community Ambassadors and Undergraduate Student Government volunteers delivering salt to off-campus residences on Jan. 19, according to the Office of Student Life website.
However, for some students walking east of High Street, the help isn’t coming soon enough.
“Once I get to High Street I’m fine, but getting there is like skating on an ice rink,” Sidwell said. “I think any of the side streets really need a little more attention.”