Dumping snow on sidewalks is illegal

Dumping snow on sidewalks is illegal. So is leaving it there.

Section 8.24.020, paragraph E, of the Olympia Municipal Code says that “[o]bstructing or encroaching upon or rendering unsafe for passage any…sidewalk…in the city” constitutes a public nuisance.

Section 12.36.060 of the Code says, “Each and every occupant or owner of property within the city along or adjoining which property are sidewalks are [sic] required to keep the sidewalks free from all snow, ice, mud or other obstructions.”

Apparently, every snow plow operator who pushed snow onto the city’s sidewalks in a manner that obstructed them, encroached upon them, or rendered them unsafe for passage, deserves to be cited for violating a city ordinance. The same appears to be true for each and every occupant or owner of property with a sidewalk, who neglected to clear said sidewalk.

In the case of snow plow operators employed by the city, I believe the city bears at least moral, if not legal, responsibility for directing their employees to violate an ordinance, as well as for endangering pedestrians, cyclists, and wheelchair users all over the city. In the case of private contractors, I believe the contractor and the city share this responsibility.

I call on the people of Olympia to join me in attempting to rectify this egregious disregard for our safety and well being. If you took pictures of the snow, please look through your pictures. If you have any photos that clearly show snow piled on a sidewalk, and the location can be identified, please contact me. If you have a story of being negatively impacted by improper or inadequate snow removal, especially if your story concerns physical injury or loss of income, again, please contact me. Please help to spread this request as widely as possible. I plan to call a public meeting in the near future, for those of us who were affected, and those who believe, like me, that to prevent this from happening again, those responsible must be held accountable.


I confess

I did not shovel my walk. I even have photos. I promise to buy a shovel and do it next time though. I think it's great to get the word out. I didn't realize it was an ordinance. I just thought I was being a bad neighbor. Perhaps our local paper can help with this the next time it snows.

You know...

Enforcing this law may be a great way for the city to earn some extra and unexpected revenue provided they can fine folks for this sort of infraction. It is kinda like parking meter revenues.

Dave White - "Old Timey Dave"
Old Time Cider Blog

Dave White - "Old Timey Dave"
Old Time Cider Blog

I do not mean to belittle the impact of

a seriously wicked two weeks of extraordinary weather on the ambulatory challenged but what happened was not class warfare, it was the efforts of well meaning persons trying to deal with a giant mess. The city is not going to cite anyone for the piles of snow on sidewalks. I'm not saying that's right, I'm just saying that's reality. 

Yes, mistakes were made but they were honest mistakes. A little understanding and dialogue rather than self-righteous outrage would advance your cause which I assume is to prevent the kinds of problems that inconvenienced you from re-occurring.

It's never class warfare...

...unless you're the one at the wrong end of the gun.

That it happened is undeniable. Why it happened is established (most Olympians drive rather than walk and thus did not consider it a problem). That it remained unresolved until active steps were taken by those effected is also documented.

The weather lately actually helped to melt many of the recent icebergs, though not all of them. One iceberg blocked 70-80% of the walkway into the City Hall on Tuesday when we approached it, BTW. Who gets the ticket in that case?

When you're trying to "not belittle" someone, telling them not to express themselves forcefully is ineffective, if not insensitive. It's like serving your apology with a side order of excuse, served as an appetizer. (Jeff Kingsbury did this, too, last Tuesday...)

Of course the city isn't

Of course the city isn't going to cite anyone. Apparently I failed to sufficiently stress the point that the city is directly responsible for creating a massive public nuisance, as defined at 8.24.020. That most citizens were unaware of their obligations under 12.36.060 is understandable. I'd say that counts as an "honest mistake". That the city was unaware of these obligations is hard to imagine. I wonder if somebody took a quick look through the OMC for "snow removal", only found 12.36.060, and said, "Hey, if we push it onto the sidewalk, it becomes somebody else's problem." You're right, Laurian, it's not class warfare, it's much worse than that. It's class indifference. As for the term "ambulatory challenged", which isn't even a proper construction, let me ask you this--Who is more seriously mobility impaired? Someone whose legs don't work very well, but uses their own energy for transportation to the greatest extent possible, or someone who requires a combustion-powered mobility device to get from point A to point B? Another point you may have missed is that this isn't really about disabled people. A barricade of snow blocking a sidewalk is a pain in everyone's ass. My reason for using a wheelchair is a permanent condition. However, I, like many people in our community, was temporarily handicapped, not as a result of some evil scheme, but rather the indifference of corporate (both private and municipal) and governmental entities. I don't want the city to cite people. I want the people to understand that we have every right and reason to cite the city.
Those who walk on foot move forward by steps. We who walk on wheels move forward by revolutions. The 5th World is Rising!