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April 07, 2008


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Scott Raun

Here in Minneapolis, MN, it is a law - IIRC, a business has 4 daylight hours after snowfall to clear their sidewalk, a residence has 24 hours. If you don't do it, the city will do it for you, and bill you - I forget if they add it to the water & sewer bill or the property tax bill, but it's one of the two. If you're on vacation, you're supposed to have made arrangements for someone to do it for you if needed. Landlords are responsible for the sidewalks of their buildings (duplexes count as residences, more than that counts as a business). You can make whatever arrangements you want with whoever to actually do the work, but you're the one stuck with the responsibility if it isn't done. The city maintains a list of groups that will help out the elderly and disabled with snow removal - their web site claims 'for a fee', I think some of the fees are pretty nominal.

In practice, the 'do it for you' only happens after someone calls and complains. The city sends someone out to look, they leave a notice on the door (I think you have 72 hours warning on said notice), then they come and clear the sidewalk. It can easily be a week before it gets handled this way.

Randy McDonald

It's also a (municipal) law in Toronto that houseowners have to clear sidewalks in front of their houses.

Do Germans use salt?


Madison has the same laws as Minneapolis, except business and residences are the same: by noon the day after the snowfall. Here you get no warning if an inspector sees your bad sidewalk, you get the ticket immediately. Sidewalks must be cleared wide enough to get a wheelchair through, and if you can't get through the ice you have to put down sand. If you are physically unable to shovel, there are volunteer groups who will help. My neighbor usually gets mine if we aren't home to do it, and vice versa. The city doesn't play around here. With the amount of snow we get, if the walks aren't cleared people who are disabled would be (and sometimes still are) completely housebound in the winter.

The New York City Math Teacher

From 7 to 15, the sidewalks at 244 N. Main and 59 W____y were my bane. Well, not so much the sidewalk was baneful but the two car driveway (lengthwise) at a 30* downangle from the street was. Also there was this four car long strip paved in the early eighties that ran along the margin of the street, and somehow counted as sidewalk. 100' long, 10' wide, and, well, it ran along the street.

The village plows would enter W____y from the left and plow from left to right, and the blades were angled 135* from the movement vector, and the street was 1.5 trucks wide, so it got one sweep. From left to right.

Are things clearer?

Blizzard of '86, 27" in 16 hours, a spongy, hydrated, ice-capped heavy snow. Call it 7/9ths air (which is 2/9ths water). Each shovelful weighed between 7 and 10 pounds.

The plow buried the cars in roadmix five feet deep. The very definition of rocky road. 5'*10'*100'=5000 cu. ft.* ~15lb per cu. ft. from roadmix packing, makes 75,000, multiplied by 1/2 because the cross-sectional profile of the plow-slope is triangular, increased by 10000 for the snow that fell only directly on top less 20000 from the displacement of the cars takes us to 28,000 lbs, which is 14 tons.

Here is where I want to say that I moved it all. But I would not be believed, and in fact it would be untrue. But I got one car out before the plow came again, which must have been 3 or 4 tons. Moorsoldaten!

With a shovel, for free. God, the tears. I should tell my diphtheria story sometime.

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