For better or worse, the city seems to have taken to a complaint-driven system to monitor and solve problems not just for the resident snow clearing ordinance, which is still voluntary, but also for other snow clearing issues. City-owned property must be cleared. Violations in business districts as well as by contractors pushing snow onto sidewalks are enforceable and subject to fines. Through some combination of these efforts, sidewalks, curb cuts and intersections in our village centers should all be passable. Alderman Vicki Danberg has told me she was disappointed by the results in the season’s first storm and she expects the police to take a more proactive role enforcing city ordinances, but for now, it all seems to fall on citizen complains from Newton’s 311 system.
In the first storm of the season, a mere 93 reports were filed with the city. Does this low number really mean people were satisfied with the conditions, or are people unaware of or unwilling to use 311? In fairness, that first storm of the season in December was not the easiest to deal with, but sidewalk conditions in my village were not good. I filed a handful of those myself on problems I observed walking my kids to school and walking into Newton Centre. I’ve noticed that the 311 website (not run by the city) has horrible performance. (The code on the site is a mess and may hold some clues) Has anyone else had trouble filing tickets?
Did you use 311 in the last storm? If not, remember to try it this time if you spot any trouble.