‘Tis the season for snow. ‘Tis the season for snow plows. And *insert groan* ‘tis the season for shoveling.
The City of Chicago is revolutionizing the way its residents think about snow removal. Its “Chicago Shovels” website launched Tuesday, featuring maps of snow plow locations, towing hot spots and a snow social network called “Snow Corps.”
Snow Corps is a two-faceted approach to shoveling the sidewalk. Residents can stake their claim on the piece of sidewalk outside their house.
The Adopt-a-Sidewalk program may or may not be successful (I personally cannot imagine too many people jumping at the chance to sign up to shovel), but Chicago mayor’s office officials maintain that it will give neighbors a chance to share tools, stories and of course, the shoveling.
And as The New York Times reported Tuesday, the people of Chicago have done that already:
The idea to incorporate more technology into the city’s official answer to snow grew out of that blizzard, which dumped more than 21 inches and essentially closed down the city in early February. On their own, residents bonded over shoveling alleys, clearing sidewalks and even being trapped together on Lake Shore Drive.
Nothing says bonding like backbreaking labor.
But the truly wonderful part of this snow social network is that it pairs able-bodied shovelers with the elderly and disabled.
The sidewalks of people in need of assistance are shoveled within 24 hours of the snowstorm. Volunteers simply sign up on the Chicago Shovels website. The logistics are handled by the city.
Watch a video by the City of Chicago on the Chicago Shovels program:
With the amount of snow Erie gets on a yearly basis, there are certainly people in need of shoveling assistance.
And if social media is the mechanism behind this winter altruism, wouldn’t Facebook or Twitter organizing work just as well?
Grassroots volunteer movements start with a single step, or in this case, by picking up a single shovel.