Yesterday’s storm left us with frozen sidewalks. Last night we received a full gamut of weather including snow, sleet, freezing rain, hail, thunder and lightning. Cleaning up the aftermath meant scraping into the ice covered snow and trying to chip away at the ice underneath. With a 34 degree temperature today, the snowbanks began to melt onto the sidewalks causing some flooding which I am sure will refreeze tonight. Because the city has no actual snow removal, we are left with huge piles of now frozen snow with no where else to put additional accumulations.
The whole legal requirement of requiring residents to clear snow from their sidewalks seems to be an exercise in futility, especially if your neighbors decided not to clear adjacent walks. There is no enforcement and the laws are a little antiquated including the penalties.
City Ordinance – Chapter 206 – Streets and Sidewalks – from 1917
Article VII Snow and Ice Removal (§ 206-23 — § 206-25)
Every person and corporation owning, occupying or having charge of any lands and premises within the City of Amsterdam shall keep the sidewalks, curbs and gutters fronting on or adjoining said lands and premises free and clear of snow and ice for the width and length of said sidewalks and for the length of said curbs and gutters and for a width of 18 inches from the curbstone line and shall remove the snow and ice therefrom within 12 hours after a storm depositing the same shall have ceased and before the same shall have attained a depth of 12 inches.
§206-24 Sand and Ashes
It is further ordained that where the snow and ice are so frozen or congealed that they cannot be removed without injury to the sidewalk as above provided, the owner, occupant or person in charge of said lands and premises shall, within 12 hours after said freezing and congealing, strew, cause to be strewn and keep strewn the snow and ice on said sidewalk with sand or ashes so as to make and keep the same safe for public traffic thereon.
§206-25 Penalties for Offenses
Any violation of the terms and provisions of this article shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $2 and not more than $5 or by imprisonment of not less than two days or more than five days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Article VIII Salt and Brine (§ 206-26 — § 206-27) – from 1928
§ 206-26 Usage
No person shall put, place, scatter, throw or pour salt or brine upon the surface of any concrete pavement on any public street of the City of Amsterdam.
§ 206-27 Penalties for Offenses
Any person violating this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $5 and in default of payment of such fine, may be committed to the Montgomery County Jail for a period not exceeding one day for each dollar of fine.
To sum this up, it in unlawful to use salt on the ice but I can “strew” sand and ash. If I fail to clear my sidewalk I can be fined $5 and sent to jail for 5 days. If I do clear my sidewalk but use salt or brine I can be fined $5 or go to Montgomery County Jail for 5 days. Given their latest mortality rate, I’ll pay the fine!
I can just hear the talk in the on the tier as I do my time in jail. “What are ‘ya in for?” “Not shoveling my sidewalk” I reply to the copper thief.
Does anyone know where I can get a little ash?