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In Providence, Snow-Covered Sidewalks Put Lives at Risk

Karen McHugh, 51, was walking on Arcade Avenue in Seekonk outside of Providence Friday night after the snow storm.

Had the sidewalks been cleared along the thoroughfare she might still be alive. But McHugh was killed by a hit-and-run driver, and authorities said street conditions might have contributed to the crash.

An image of an unshoveled sidewalk in Providence. Via WNPVD on Twitter
An image of an unshoveled sidewalk in Providence. Local residents are collecting them at the hashtag #PVDsidewalks. Via WNPVD on Twitter
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“Police say the snow may have played a factor,” reported local TV station WPRI. “Neighbors say the sidewalks were packed with snow and were only cleared after the hit and run.”

Jef Nickerson at Greater City Providence says this is not a new story, but one the region sees with some degree of regularity:

This is exactly what we feared would happen when we started documenting uncleared sidewalks through the #PVDsidewalks hashtag on Twitter.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, in 2011 George Adams, IV was struck and killed by a driver who also fled the scene. Haley Mckee who killed Adams was eventually arrested by police. In 2013 a reader documented poor conditions on North Main Street and of course North Main Street features heavily in the #PVDsidewalks photos this year. And in 2009 we wrote about people dying.

Every year we deal with these sidewalk conditions, and every year, people die while people who drive their cars seem to become more and more entitled and unable to deal with the fact that we live in New England and it snows. Someone started a Twitter fight with me insisting that the real problem was that streets were not returned to dry pavement yet and how dare I waste time worrying about sidewalks. The road in Seekonk was returned to dry pavement, and motorist were moving 35-40 mph on it, and Karen McHugh is dead.

Elsewhere on the Network today: John Edwards at Streets.mn laments that he's forced to pay for a parking space he doesn't use at his apartment complex. Broken Sidewalk explains Louisville's recent disappointing decision to drop all its development standards, and for a Walmart no less. And Greater Greater Washington reports that transit use in Maryland is much higher than Governor Larry Hogan says it is.

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