Low-Cost/No-Cost Ways To Improve Snow Removal Issues
On tonight’s city commission agenda is a discussion about the snow removal policy. I sent in a few low-cost/no cost ideas to the city manager to improve snow removal in the city—we can experiment.
Snow removal ideas:
- Clear communication that snow removal for pedestrians is a priority. It would be encouraging to know that the city manager ranks this as a priority and has communicated that throughout the City workforce. And, does so every autumn.
- Incentives provided for “beyond the call of duty” maintenance. A lot of the rough spots in town could be solved by more attention and commitment to detail with a trusty shovel. How do we create the culture and incentives for that to take place? Stop the machine, jump out and shovel away the snow.
- Provide shovels to employees (to keep in trucks) and at difficult spots around town (for anyone to use). If there is a shovel handy (and sand) we could develop a cultural of citizen involvement where everyone contributed. I know there have been several times that I said, “if only I had a shovel with me.” TART Trails does this with brooms along the trails; they don’t lose as many brooms as you’d think.
- An annual, consistent and creative public campaign that speaks to the importance of the community working together to make the city accessible for everyone during the winter. Find some communications money.
- A volunteer notification service via email letting people know when sidewalks need to be cleared (to avoid fines, paying for the city to clear).
- A way for neighbors to report poor conditions. The use and encouragement of a hot-line or online tool to report problem or neglected areas. (www.SeeClickFix.com is a free and easy to use system)
- An organized volunteer program for citizens to take ownership of certain difficult places in the city. We have people volunteer to adopt highways, why not sidewalks?
- Enforcement of current policy and consideration of establishing fines for not maintaining a sidewalk. Saline, MI’s policy is below. The City could actually make money on this.
- Collection of model features from different snow removal policies, as put together by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. You can view that online at: http://www.walkinginfo.org/faqs/answer.cfm?id=4125
- A broken link exists in the attachment to Madison, WI’s policies. You can read their policy at http://www.cityofmadison.com/residents/winter/snowice/
- SALINE, MICHIGAN’s FINES: “People who fail to comply with the ordinance will be issued a Civil Infraction Violation. Civil Infraction Violation fines are $25 for the first offense, $50 for a second repeat offense within one year, and $100 for a third and each subsequent repeat offense within one year. In addition, the City may clear sidewalks, and the property owner will be charged for the work performed. The minimum fee for the City to remove the snow is $75 per visit and $30 per visit to treat ice. Costs to clear your sidewalk are in addition to the civil infraction violation fine. Property owners may not be notified in advance of the City clearing their sidewalks.”