Janesville32.3°

Are we clearing sidewalks well enough?

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Greg Peck
January 16, 2013

I was surprised to hear several snowblowers in my neighborhood Sunday morning. It seemed like a little overkill, after less than an inch of snow fell overnight. At least those homeowners were clearing their walks. Here we are, more than 72 hours later, and a handful of homeowners on my dog walk are still waiting for the sun to melt that snow.

It doesn’t bother me too much. However, if I were using a wheelchair to get around, or an elderly person who was a little unsteady on my feet, I would be perturbed.

A Janesville city ordinance requires homeowners to clear their sidewalks within 12 hours of a snowfall. And, as a Sound Off caller in today’s Gazette points out, those living on corners also are responsible for clearing those ramps leading to the street. Trouble is, after the one big snowstorm we’ve had this winter, many such ramps remained clogged for weeks—until last week’s thaw—with chunks of icy snow left by plows. While some homeowners might complain that those chunks were too hard to shovel out, you didn’t see the ends of driveways left uncleared.

In 2010, the city council changed its noncompliance plans. Now, if someone complains about your sidewalk (call 608-755-3110 to do so), a city inspector will knock and, if no one answers, leave a door-hanger notice. A city crew will arrive the next day. The minimum cost of having that crew clear your walkways is $124. That would buy a lot of private shoveling help.

we’ve had a lack of snow so far this winter. That won’t bode well for farm fields left dry from last year’s drought, or trees or shrubs or the soil moisture in gardens. We are, however, only in mid-January. Lots of snow could still fall before the tulips return.

How well have folks shoveled their walks in your neck of Wisconsin?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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