Snow-Melting, No-Shovel Sidewalks and Driveways Sound Amazing


Yesterday in snowy Manhattan I fell on the sidewalk, like some kind of freaking invalid. Half of the sidewalk was covered in that blue-colored chemical salt. Since that burns my dogs’ paws, I was walking with them on the snow-covered half of the sidewalk—unaware that there was a layer of slippery ice underneath the powder. I went down like a soccer player trying to get a flag thrown. As my dogs stared at me with big eyes, I sat there in the snow, infomercial-style, thinking There’s got to be a better way! When it snows on my block, it’s up to whichever store owners are afraid of getting sued to shovel off the sidewalk in front of their businesses. Most do a feeble job and instead prefer to throw chemical salt. We residents then track this stuff inside our buildings, creating a disgusting slurry on our lobby floors. But there is a better way. Heated sidewalks! They have them in places like Iceland , Chicago , Utah , and in New York some businesses and luxury buildings pay top dollar to have them installed around their buildings. Couple years ago we even caught wind of a snow-melting footbridge in Sweden , and Holland has considered installing geothermal-powered snow-melting bike lanes. Geothermal power is probably what Iceland is using as well. But according to the links above, the heated sidewalks in use in Chicago and New York are fiendishly expensive to install and expensive to run, and probably not eco-friendly; some work by heating electrical wires beneath the sidewalks, others by running hot water through embedded pipes, like outdoor radiant-floor heating. Even more mind-blowing is that out in the suburbs, there are folks with heated driveways . Can you imagine? It snows, they flip a switch, and the driveway melts its own snow while the owner’s snowshovel sits untouched in a closet. Still, I know my building and my block will never get this technology. And as I wrote in the original post on the Swedish bridge, heated sidewalks would be impractical in New York, even aside from the cost. Because they’d be covered in sleeping homeless people. So for now, here’s my $17.29 solution:

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Snow-Melting, No-Shovel Sidewalks and Driveways Sound Amazing


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