Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Uncleared Sidewalks Endanger Pedestrians"

Or so says the ever-informative weekly e-newsletter from the Crossroads Development Agency.  It goes on to state:
The blizzard last weekend brought 30" of snow that shut down the DMV area.  Snow plows came through on Sunday and Monday, opening up a lane and then two, in each direction.  Property owners scrambled to get their parking lots cleared for customers, and succeeded. Some cleared sidewalks along University Blvd and NH Ave, but others didn't, making it very difficult for pedestrians to get around, especially those with strollers.
Takoma Park's newly revised Snow Ordinance requires residential and commercial property owners to keep all of the public sidewalks located around their businesses and property, clear of snow and ice between 9 am and 5 pm.  This includes not only the front of the individual businesses and the property, but also the sidewalks that may run along the front, side or back of the building or property.  The City will begin enforcement today, with $200 fines issued for commercial violations.
The photograph from the CDA shows an uncleared bus shelter on University Boulevard near Merrimac Drive that is maintained by Signal Outdoor Advertising.  Interestingly, the city of Takoma Park recently renegotiated its contract with Signal, and its terms require the prompt removal of snow and ice from the shelter locations.  Specifically, "crews will begin the snow removal process as heavy snowfall begins to taper and the work vehicles can be safely on the road and out of the way of snow plows" and "should large drifting occur, usually as a result of snow plows, [the] Company will clear a 4 foot wide between the Advertising Shelter pad and street to provide commuters with safe passage for boarding or disembarking from the bus." 

The follow-up photo shows a cleared sidewalk on University looking toward the intersection with Anne Street.  For the sake of completeness, the CDA should have also included a photo of the adjoining blocks of Anne that run along the side of the Hampshire Langley Shopping Center owned by the scofflaws at Saul Centers.  It's been a week since the storm, and the sidewalks there have not been touched.  

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