No Ticket, No Fine, No Shoveling
|Crap, I forgot my mountaineer ice cleats.|
(C) 2016 Luke T. Bush
PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY - Jan. 6, 2016
Pedestrians: get ready for more unshoveled sidewalks this winter. Life and limb might be at stake.
Maybe that last sentence sounds overdramatic. But blocked/icy sidewalks easily lead to falls and broken bones. Even if no bones are broken the fallen person could find themselves incapacitated, unable to get up. Years ago an elderly woman slipped on Couch Street. She lay there for a while until someone spotted her. If that Good Samaritan hadn't helped her she could have suffered frost bite or simply froze to death.
And sidewalks blocked by snow force people to walk in the street. Like a college student decades ago who was killed by a passing car.
But deep snow isn't the only problem. When someone doesn't shovel after a few inches have accumulated, people walk on that stretch, compacting the snow to create a bumpy icy glaze. Ice cleats, anyone?
After all the discussion and planning last year you would think this winter would be different. There were the public meetings by the Snow Removal Advisory Committee (SRAC) to address the matter. From its recommendations the regulation was changed so that scofflaws who didn't shovel sidewalks adjacent to their properties would be ticketed with increased fines. Besides the building inspector city police could also be contacted with complaints about unsafe/obstructed sidewalks
One problem: the Plattsburgh City Attorney has to come up with the proper tickets to motivate uncompliant landlords/owners. City police apparently tried to issue improper ones.
Shouldn't this had been considered months ago by a legal expert reviewing the SRAC recommendations?
How long will it take the city attorney to fix this red tape glitch? Will this have to go all the way up to the US Supreme Court, finally being settled in the year 2045? Or will global warming fix the problem before then? (Probably.)
The best solution is what they do in civilized communities like Champlain and Rouses Point: the town clears the walkways. Little towns with much less funding beat the Big City. An example of why it's better to live in a truly caring community. And the reason for Plattsburgh City to respond better to the needs of its citizens.