We’re in a trial program for the snow-removal ordinance, ending next November (search for “Sec. 26-8D” here). Has it been effective? In the last couple of weeks, we’ve not had a 30-hour gap between snow falls, so no one has been out of compliance as the snow mounts up. We all get 30 hours after the storm to clean up. So far, in all this mess, the ordinance has not applied because we keep renewing that 30-hour grace period.  All the clear pathways we see now (and are grateful for) are due to Newton being neighborly.

There are some who want the City to plow every sidewalk, since all the sidewalks are City-owned. There are some who want all walkways included in the ordinance, which currently applies only to paved walkways.

snow-sidewalkThe sidewalk shown here was shoveled out — even through mounds of snow and ice that were piled up on the street corner by City street plows. But once the 30-hour grace period is over, this sidewalk will be out of compliance — because it’s only one shovel-width wide (instead of the lesser of 36″ or the width of the sidewalk).

There are some who say that the ordinance should not apply in the current case because we’ve had such a crazy about of snow. But the ordinance makes no exception for amount of snow or number of blizzards.

One thing I don’t understand about the ordinance: It says that “every owner or occupant…shall use reasonable efforts to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk.” Doesn’t that mean that if I do all the shoveling, the rest of my family is out of compliance, since they did not make any effort to remove snow and ice?

All in all, I think this ordinance needs some continued thought.