Mother Nature’s buffer

Winter observations: New Hampshire, like the rest of the region, is having an exceptionally snowy season. This coincides with the current 40 Days for Life campaign. While a Planned Parenthood lobbyist works the State House halls to urge legislators to keep the buffer zone law, her co-workers in Manchester are letting Mother Nature do the buffering. The sidewalk outside the Manchester facility looked like this when I arrived at 7 a.m. last Thursday for my vigil hour.

Sidewalk at 24 Pennacook Street in Manchester NH, 2/19/15. Planned Parenthood office is on the right.
Sidewalk outside PP in Manchester NH, 2/19/15. Planned Parenthood office is on the right.

Everyone has it tough with all the snow this month. But somehow, I’m not surprised I found this particular sidewalk in the shape it was in last Thursday.

Note the path carved out in the middle of the snowpile. That was done by a member of the local 40DFL leadership team on Wednesday, first day of the 40DFL campaign. Six inches of snow fell after he did the shoveling. What you see in the photo is what I found the following morning. See the wall of snow at the end of the walkway? The other side of that wall is the entrance to the PP patient parking lot. That tells me that the snow was piled there sometime between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning.

Buffer, anyone?

When I saw the situation Thursday, I did my best to clear a few parking spaces at the edge of the street, knowing that Thursday is a big day for sidewalk counseling at the facility year-round, independent of 40DFL. Later in the day, another volunteer took a crack at clearing the sidewalk on PP’s side of the street. One has to be careful to move the snow into the pile – the wall, really – between sidewalk and street. It’s illegal to shovel the snow into the street, just as it’s illegal to trespass on PP property.

PP employee lot was plowed, presumably by a contractor. Where did the contractor put the snow?
PP employee lot was plowed, presumably by a contractor. Where did the contractor put the snow?
From the opposite direction of top picture in this post: PP, the buried sidewalk, the edge of Pennacook Street.
From the opposite direction of top picture in this post, from left to right: PP, the buried sidewalk, the edge of the street.
Pennacook Street across from PP, 2/19/15.
PP’s employee lot on the left, residences on the right, a more-or-less two-way street in between.

The day after these pictures were taken, a citywide even-side-only parking rule went into effect to allow plows widen the streets a bit more. At least one of PP’s neighbors is making inquiries to the public works department about who is responsible for keeping the sidewalk passable. As I said, everyone has it tough while this weather pattern holds.

The snow will melt eventually. With or without it, 40DFL continues.