Our Views: Hey, Janesville homeowner, grab a shovel

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

We seem stuck in a weather pattern common to mid-January: a little snow, then bitter cold, a bit more snow, then another blast of arctic air. We’ve dealt with three light snowfalls already this week.

The trouble is, some Janesville homeowners haven’t lifted shovels since last winter. Their walkways remain snow-covered and slippery. What’s worse, light snow is forecast for tonight and Saturday, adding to that layer of trampled snow.

These property owners are violating a city ordinance that requires sidewalks to be cleared within 12 hours after a snowfall. If you live on a corner, you must clear ramps to the street, too. If someone complains to the city, an inspector will knock and, if no one answers, leave a door-hanger notice. A city crew will arrive the next day, and that shoveling service will cost you at least $124.

Those who don’t shovel also disrespect their neighbors, school children, dog walkers, joggers, and mail and newspaper carriers, as well as the elderly and those with disabilities who depend on clear sidewalks to get to where they need to go.

Many of the same people are slackers each winter. It often isn’t a case of a vacant home, or of residents too old or frail to shovel, or of being too poor to hire help. It also isn’t ignorance of the law. It’s just a lack of common courtesy.

If you live in a city, it’s your responsibility to clear your sidewalks. Stop shirking your duty and grab a shovel.

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