warning: file_exists(): open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/../ad_/ad_cache_.inc) is not within the allowed path(s): (/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/:/tmp/) in /var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/sites/all/modules/ad/adserve.inc on line 160.

A simple solution apparently too complicated

I thought it was a simple solution for a simple problem. Make a narrow path in the deep snow on Knight Avenue, south of the railroad tracks, so people can more easily walk to the City Center/library on 12th Street.
It was a simple request, but negative reaction from city staff was swift.
First the problem: Anyone living north of the railroad tracks between Hennepin Avenue east to Pryor Avenue now has just one direct route open if you plan to walk to the City Center/library.
Otherwise you have to walk blocks out of your way east to Hennepin Avenue or west to McLeod or Pryor Avenue because the sidewalks at Ives and Knight avenues are off limits because of construction that was not completed last year as expected. The crossings are currently blocked by deep snow and high snowbanks.
Before the demolition of the central part of town last year, I could walk three blocks to drop off a letter at the post office, or four blocks to get to Glencoe City Center.
Now, I have to detour to Hennepin Avenue and backtrack to the U.S. Post Office. That’s six blocks. Same with the City Center. What was once a four block stroll via Knight Avenue is now six blocks via Hennepin Avenue or seven or eight blocks going to McLeod. Forget going to Pryor.
If I wanted to do that I might as well walk to Coborn’s for groceries, too.
While the detours don’t sound like much, try it with all the snow and ice this winter.
Back to the issue: If you sneak across Knight Avenue at the railroad track, you are technically in a construction zone. City staff, the city’s consulting engineers (SEH), and anyone else involved with the city get excited about that shortcut. Also, the direct route from my house to the post office on Ives Avenue is now out of the bounds.
The problem is, they are not posted as such … for pedestrians. Tall snowbanks, however, are a good deterrent.
If those two areas are off limits because of construction, why aren’t 12th, 13th and 14th streets as well as Judd Avenue? After all, they are still under construction, too. Apparently vehicles and pedestrians are treated differently.
As to my simple solution? Forget it. That request found no takers when I broached it before Glencoe City Council last week. In fact, the blowback from city staffers was great enough to part what little hair I have left.
So what’s the big deal?
A little pathway so pedestrians using the shortcut don’t have to trudge through, climb over and skirt around snow or have to travel many extra blocks to get to the City Center is not much to ask. It would take five minutes to plow a path with a Bobcat.
But there is a little problem called liability. The city is scared witless someone will fall, get hurt and then sue the city.
Post the area “Construction zone. Enter at your own risk!” so the city’s liability is lessened or eliminated. Right now, there is no such posting.
After the rejection from city council, I marched right back through the Knight Avenue shortcut, two feet of snow or not. I could have melted a path; I was that heated.
When I was told by a public works director the McLeod Avenue crossing was open, I thought, but it didn’t say it, “wonder how often our two public works directors walked six blocks in the winter, let alone got out of their vehicles!”
I bit my tongue instead.
The other thing I learned: After years of hearing complaints, the public may be right. Some city staff are not real public-friendly.
So from here on out, I will not speak again during a city council meeting. I learned my lesson. Public input may be sought, but it’s not really wanted.

Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014.