‘Snow Angels’ keep sidewalks safe during winter


CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Getting around in winter weather isn’t always easy, but one program is helping people who need to walk to their destination.

Snow totals are different all over central Illinois, but on days with two or more inches in Champaign-Urbana, you can catch volunteers with a shovel in their hands.

“The program is designed to help encourage and support students being able to walk and bike to school,” said CU Safe Routes to School Co-Chair Cynthia Hoyle.

The CU Safe Routes to School Program has been around for 15 years. Volunteers are called Snow Angels.” They help people get around safely in the winter.

“In the past, there were days schools had to cancel class because students couldn’t walk on side walks because people were not clearing the snow and it wasn’t safe for students to walk in the street.”

Volunteers brave the cold to ensure clean sidewalks. They are asked to clear a designated route within 48 hours of snowfall.

“We have a lot of people who walk and bike and take the bus for transportation. In Urbana, It’s about more than 30% of the population does not drive to work and we have high rates of people walking to school,” said Hoyle.

The program is supported by C-U school districts and CUMTD. They were recently awarded a grant by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“With that grant, we can now purchase snow shovels, mittens, and hats.”

And they can keep routes safe through the rest of the winter season.

“We appreciate people helping out their neighbors, friends, and family members that need to get someplace by using the sidewalk.”

And if the cold doesn’t bother you, the program is always in need of volunteers. You have to fill out a liability form.

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