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.