The streets are plowed, the driveways are cleared, the cars are dug out, and the kids are back in school. Now it’s time to make sure the sidewalks are also clear. Our friends and neighbors are counting on all of us to clear our sidewalks so everyone can get to work, to school, to the bus stop, to the store, and more.
This historic blizzard has caused many scenes like these of people walking in the street and struggling to climb over piles of snow. It is dangerous, and there are already several reports of people hit by cars. For those in wheelchairs or with mobility issues, it means they are virtually homebound until the sidewalks are clear again.
Another all too common site are beautifully cleared sidewalks blocked mountains of snow pushed there by plows clearing driveways and parking lots.
In KCMO it’s the law (kindof)
City law requires property owners (and/or tenants) to clear sidewalks within a “reasonable” time after a snow storm. Unfortunately current law does not define reasonable and provides penalties for people to fail to clear their sidewalks. In 2010 the previous City Council considered a plan to set timelines and penalties, but never passed it. The current City Council dropped the plan and has yet give this issue much attention.
What you can do:
- Report blocked or impassible sidewalks to KCMO’s 311 Call Center or your own public works or codes enforcement departments. Even if a city can’t enforce sidewalk clearing yet, it’s important to document the extent of the problem.
- Report blocked bus stops to the KCATA. They are working hard to clear bus stops where the property owner hasn’t shovelled.
- Ask the property owner or business – sometimes all it takes is a customer request
- Lend a hand (and a shovel) – some homeowners need help clearing sidewalks. Many neighborhoods are self-organizing assistance through their existing mailing lists, Facebook groups, etc.
- Tweet your photos (good and bad) with the hashtag #kcsnowpatrol, post them on Flickr with “kcsnowpatrol”, or post them to our Facebook wall
- Ask your city for policies to require sidewalk clearing and enforcement of those policies.