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Two volunteer groups remove snow

SARAH TADDEO @SJTADDEO

It’s difficult enough to traverse snowy streets in a vehicle immediately after a snowstorm, but for emergency responders, pedestrians or those with physical disabilities, piles of snow can bring additional hazards.

Two local groups are looking to change that by spending some of their extra time clearing area sidewalks, bus stops, bike racks and fire hydrants.

For several years, Reconnect Rochester has spearheaded a project that brings groupsof volunteer shovelers to different city locations every otherweekend from January to March.

Several days after a major snowstorm dumped about two feet of snow on the City of Rochester last week, most of the roads have been cleared for cars, said Daniel Speciale, theevent’s organizer and a Reconnect Rochester volunteer.

“For those of us who catch the bus, ride bikes, and those of us in wheelchairs, with strollers, or elderly people with walkers, this is completely impassable. That’s why we’re here,” hesaid.

A Reconnect Rochester group used shovels and pitchforks to scrape ice and snow from sidewalk areas along about a mile of Lake Avenue on

See SNOW, Page 5A

Daniel Speciale, of Reconnect Rochester, spent Saturday with others shoveling city bus stops, sidewalks, bike racks and fire hydrants.

MAXSCHULTE/@MAXROCPHOTO/STAFFPHOTOGRAPHER

Antonio Cruz, center, Drew Washburn, left, and Carlos Mercado clear crosswalks on Lake Avenue in Rochester on Saturday. Groups of volunteer shovelers go to different city locations every other weekend from January to March.

MAXSCHULTE/@MAXROCPHOTO/STAFFPHOTOGRAPHER“We’re a community.

We need to help each other. If neighbors don’t do it, nothing gets done.”

PAULA MATHEWS

VOLUNTEER, ROCHESTER RESIDENT


Snow

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Saturday. This is their last shoveling day before they put away their equipment until next year, said Speciale — apparently Mother Nature decided they’d go out with a bang.

Lake Avenue is one of the busiest roads in Rochester, with certain portions being used by more than 25,000 vehicles per day. Because it’s so difficult to handle for pedestrians, the shoveling project is particularly fitting there, said volunteer Carlos Mercado of Rochester.

“This is taking back the intersection for the pedestrian,” he said, adding that while he’s not anti-vehicle, “no one mode of transportation can take care of all situations allthe time.”It’s not only about accessibility for all, said volunteer Paula Mathews of Rochester — it’s about being good stewards of theneighborhood. “We’re a community,” she said. “We need to help each other. If neighbors don’t do it, nothing getsdone.” In Webster, another neighborhood group clears fire hydrants for firefighters who will have just minutes to respond in the case of an area fire.

Called the “Snow Dawgs,” the group’s goal is twofold –– remind residents to dig out fire hydrants on their properties or streets after a snowstorm, and if hydrants in the village and on the town’s main roads are still buried a few days later, assemble a band of volunteers to clear them, said group member JimmySands. “The idea was to get the message out (to neighbors) and then also get out and do it,” said Sands, a retired New York City firefighter.

STADDEO@Gannett

.com

Members of The Snow Dawgs shovel out a fire hydrant in Webster after a snowstorm in 2015.

JAMIE GERMANO/@JGERMANO1/STAFF FILE PHOTO

“For those of us who catch the bus, ride bikes, and those of us in wheelchairs, with strollers, or elderly people with walkers, this is completely impassable. That’s why we’re here.”

DANIEL SPECIALE

EVENT ORGANIZER, RECONNECT ROCHESTER VOLUNTEER

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