Trail Ramblings: Who Clears That Trail?

Kudos to the Parks and Recreation Dept. for largely getting the latest round of snow cleaned up before it got packed down on the trails. It wasn’t all able to be dealt with immediately, but each area of jurisdiction has it’s priorities. I’ve noticed that when snow falls on a weekend it may take a little longer to get it cleared from trails, so this snowfall is generally being cleaned up quickly. Also, trails and side paths along arterials get snow plowed onto them. This eventually gets removed from trails such as the Billy Wolff, but not side paths such as that along Pine Lake.

Some trails, such as the South Pointe seen here, are probably best avoided in snowy weather.

Often, residential side streets become such a sheet of packed ice that the sidewalks start to look good. That is until you get to the snow mound and ice-dam at the curb. Also, there are those who don’t clean their sidewalks at all, giving us a chance to further our bike-handling skills when the walks become churned up with foot and bike traffic and re-frozen. So who’s responsibility is it and when is it supposed to be finished? The following information is from the city website:

Without studded tires, streets like this make sidewalks look good.

City ordinance requires property owners to clear snow and ice from sidewalks by 9 a.m. the day following the end of the snow storm. Sidewalks must be kept clear of snow and ice during the day. The entire width of the walk must be cleared, along with any adjoining wheelchair ramps or curb cuts. For more information or to report locations not cleared, contact the Public Works and Utilities sidewalk office at 402-441-7541.”(Emphasis mine)

“If a property owner does not clear the walk and a complaint is received by the City sidewalk office, notice will be given to the owner. City ordinance requires written notice to be left on the front door or other conspicuous place on the property. If an unresolved problem is reported again, the City may hire a snow removal contractor, and the owner is responsible for the charges.”

“It is illegal to push or blow snow into or on any street, alley or sidewalk. Violators are subject to a fine.”

And this from the latest snow emergency communique:

“Staff have received citizen inquiries regarding driveways being blocked by snow.  We understand the inconvenience.  It is an unintended consequence related to the amount of snow received and the safest and most effective way to clear residential streets.  Operators clear from the center of the street out to the curb, leaving a windrow of snow in the gutter.  This is the best place for snow to melt and helps prevent refreezing in the middle of the street.”

“The City thanks all property owners for clearing their driveways and sidewalks and for any additional clearing needed after the residential plowing operation.  To keep your street clear of ice and snow, please avoid moving or blowing the snow back into the street.”

And from the FAQ list on the Public Works site: “Why do bike trails get cleared of snow before many streets?”

“The removal of snow from City bike trails is the responsibility of the Parks and Recreation Department, not PWU. Both bike trails and streets are an important part of the City’s overall transportation network, and many people use the City’s trail network all year.”

Yes, we do, thank-you!

The snow shows that our numbers are larger than we may think.

I’ve seriously been considering riding with a small camping shovel attached to my frame to knock out some of those particularly annoying curbside snow barriers. Anyone else with me?