Snow Removal is a Day Late
The Boulder City Council must keep in mind the purpose of the snow removal requirement and not simply focus on the procedure. While they have talked about how important snow removal is for residents and they say they wish to have a walk-able community; the ordinance, on its first real test, is proving to be hollow and ineffective. As the snow from Wednesday melts away, the first enforcement is made possible when it is not really needed.
Councilman Matt Appelbaum praises lowered expectations and reports a new goal of “going after” habitual offenders.
“The critical thing is still getting at the worst offenders,” Appelbaum said in the newspaper today. “The people who try their best, those are not the people we want to go after.”
The purpose of enforcement however; is to implement the community’s goal and make the walkways usable by residents. The rule should instill the need of businesses’ and residents’ involvement and create the behavior that is necessary to effectively clear the sidewalks. CPWD has always contended that the overall goal is not “going after” anyone, but getting people to work.
The Center stated to the city council that the morning is the time when people need the snow removal to get to work and school. Diluting that goal makes the requirement for snow removal less effective. I believe it is clear that the purpose of the snow removal is to keep the city running, not just some arbitrary requirement or aesthetic obligation. The residents in Boulder work together in poor weather to help one another keep the city working.
The fact is that the City Council does not propose that we close the city when it snows. The unmistakable message to citizens of Boulder is that if you need to go somewhere: drive. The typical scenario that the City Council endorses is to allow people to drive off to work and leave those residents that walk to work and school to deal with the snow on the walkways.
The morning snow removal seems like an effective and efficient time to enforce the ordinance because it is when residents most need it. I cannot imagine a simpler plan, if there it snow on your walkway you must remove it. And I would like to add for all of us that depend on the sidewalks: don’t drive off until your walkway is usable.
- Tim Wheat