Sometimes it seems like the public works department can't win.

Folks blame them for not fixing cracks in the sidewalk, unaware that it is the property owner's responsibility to maintain the walks.

Folks carry on about seeing workers eating lunch on the job, as if one shouldn't work up an appetite maintaining streets and sewers.

And just let an errant keystroke and a drowsy copy editor leave out an andquot;Landquot; and the whole public works department becomes the brunt of juvenile jokes not of their making.

Sometimes they can't win.

But Tom Fisk and his colleagues in the public works department are stepping up to the plate with a home run in mind: helping clear snow from the driverways of seniors and the disabled.

Snow has to go somewhere, and when it's cleared from a road, it often winds up blocking driveways.

For the able-bodied, it's perhaps an irksome task.

For the elderly and ill, however, it can be a sentence to stay home.

That's why the city is exploring issuing licenses that would entitle homeowners to having their driveway cleared.

Not everyone would be eligible, and public safety should remain the primary goal when clearing streets of snow.

But the idea has merit. Let's see the city put it into practice soon on a trial basis with a full schedule next year.