Councils: they couldnae run a bath (4)

There is comfort, I suppose, in knowing that you are not alone.  Caron’s latest musing is critical of the treacherous pavements around her local primary school and the dangers inherent in children walking on the roads.  Caron, it’s the same at the burdz.

The pavements on all the entry roads into our primary school area are totally compacted and walking to school, which the chicklet does everyday accompanied by his mammy, has become a fine art in avoiding slip sliding our way to broken bones.  Worst of all are the pavements immediately surrounding the school, a situation made worse by diggers appearing last week to clear the roads by erm, heaping all the snow onto the pavements. 

Indeed, the pathways inside our school’s grounds are only clear because an intrepid bunch of parents spent several hours one evening early last week clearing them.  And then we spent many more hours pestering local cooncillors to obtain grit so that they might stay clear.

In Scotland and especially Edinburgh, the car is king and pedestrians lowly vassals. 

That was proved beyond doubt last week when buses stopped running in our area because it was too dangerous for them to climb and descend the hills upon which their routes run.  Due to abandoned and parked vehicles creating very narrow single lanes. 

It took four days for the problem to be solved.  Phone calls to the police were initially met with disinterest and an overly attentious concern for motorists who had nowhere else to park their vehicles. 

No one seemed to care that a population of 30,000 was being significantly disadvantaged and that many pensioners, disabled people and low income families had effectively been made prisoners in their own homes, unable to access vital local amenities such as doctors, nurseries, libraries, dentists and supermarkets.  So long as all those selfish motorists – and I exclude the service van drivers from this – could get their cars out to get to and from work, who cared?

But this attitude does not appear to apply to all parts of Edinburgh.  The burdz walk to work this week has been quite pleasant underfoot, for the pavements leading to my office, and especially those surrounding two schools en route have been cleared.  This is in one of Edinburgh’s more desirable residential areas.  Funny that.

The snow and the freeze are to return with a vengeance tonight and over the next few days.  The five day respite period has been squandered.  There are still large sections of our scheme, both road and pavement, that are practically no go areas.  And yes, local householders could have and should have done more to clear their own patches.  The burd has done hers, several times, in the last fortnight.  As well as those of elderly neighbours. 

But the snow and ice is now so compacted in some parts that no shovel is going to shift it.  Where is the army when you need them?  Or have they been stood down already?

Edinburgh council issued a Snow Code at the start of this week, with handy hints on what residents can be doing to help when the snow hits.  Much of it is sensible advice but I’m not sure the council is keeping to its side of the bargain.

Yup, the burd is still checking on elderly neighbours, which is more than the council has done.  One couple who rely on meals on wheels have still not been contacted to see if they are okay and managing.  Thanks to my industrial vats of soup and stews, they are, thanks.

The news of grit dumps being created is welcome indeed.  For, despite living on a hill, there is not a single grit bin the length of it.  Nor are there any in the environs of the school, even though the parent council has been asking for some since July.  We had the same problem with a lack of access to grit last year but it would seem forward planning is a myth and few lessons were learned.

Residents might be inclined to do more to help themselves, if the council actively helped them.  And they also did not see taxpayers’ money going into keeping shopping streets and city centre areas visitor friendly zones.  Our bairns can risk their way to school so long as the tourists can reach the Christmas market huh?

So as we await the next onslaught, how hopeful am I that the school stays open, a grit dump appears at the end of the road and that the local buses stay running?  Not very.

Cooncils:  they couldnae run a bath.