Hadley parents hope for help getting their kids safely to school when ice and snow stand in the way. And no doubt parents with children at other elementary schools share a similar hope.
Melissa Defilippi, mom to a Hadley kindergartener, hopes help arrives in the form of a Town Meeting by-law requiring residents to clear sidewalks in front of their homes.
Cleared sidewalks would give children a place to walk other than the side of the road.
She is hopeful selectmen will propose the Town Meeting by-law.
The head of the Department of Public Works, Gino Cresta, said sidewalk shoveling proposals have come before several Town Meetings in his 15 years as a meeting member.
Each time it has been defeated, he said.
Opponents say the by-law would burden elderly residents. Shoveling snow could risk their health. Or they might not be able to afford to pay someone to shovel.
But Melissa Defilippi says perhaps a waiver could be extended to elderly residents, freeing them from the required clearing, or maybe other provisions could be made.
Neighbors often help neighbors with shoveling, especially help elderly neighbors. Maybe Boy Scouts or high school students or community service workers could be enlisted to shovel, she and other moms say.
Melissa lives on Banks Road, a half-mile from Hadley School.
On Tuesday she drove her son to school in the morning and walked to the school to pick him up in the afternoon.
Neither the drive nor the walk was safe, she said.
In the morning she found nowhere to park and waited in the drop-off line, ending up nervous about dropping off a 5-year-old who slipped from her view behind snowbanks.
She also saw a child who was walking to school slip on ice and fall.
In the afternoon she and a neighbor, and her neighbor's child, in a stroller, walked to the Redington Street school.
They had to walk in the road for much of the route.
"You can't walk; you can't drive," she said.
Wednesday afternoon as she waited for her son at Hadley School, other parents echoed her concerns.
Amanda Mulcahy, who lives by the high school and has a 4-year-old son in kindergarten at Hadley, was driving toward Hadley one day this week. She was on Burrill Street by the library when she saw a young child on his way to school step from the snowbound sidewalk into the street.
He slipped and fell on the road. She stopped to check on him. He was OK.
But she worries about what might have happened if a car had struck the child.
Jill Kearney has three children who go to Hadley.
Typically she drives the children to Monument Avenue, parks, and walks them to the school.
But Tuesday there was nowhere to park on Monument. And she spent 30 minutes waiting in the wait line to drop her children at Hadley School.
It's a congested place with lots of children and lots of cars.
The parents say they and others are frustrated because school and town officials and many others know snow-blocked sidewalks in a town with narrow curved streets that rise and fall is a problem— but nothing is done.
Melissa Defilippi supports doing something before it is too late.
"I am supportive of the town stepping in to encourage residents to do the right thing for the safety of the community," she said.