Saturday, December 11, 2010

Should I Be Mad About This?

Each winter since my wife and I moved into our current location, I have always been frustrated with the city snow plows. We live on one of the "main" streets in our city, and it gets a lot of traffic, which usually means it's first on the list for having the snow plowed which is usually nice - our street is almost always clear. And like a good citizen, I always make sure my sidewalks are shoveled/snow-blown within a day of a snowfall.

Here's the problem: the sidewalk in front of my house is separated from the street by the usual 3-4 foot wide boulevard section of grass. I'm not sure if the snow plows are either going so fast, or not watching what they're doing, or whatever, but whenever a snow plow plows our street, it throws all the snow from the street onto our sidewalk. And most of the time, it's AFTER I've already been out to shovel/snow-blow. So then I have to go out and shovel/snow-blow one more time.

Why not just wait to shovel/snow-blow until after the plows have gone by, you ask? Because "street snow" is much different than "sidewalk snow." It's usually wetter and heavier (which stinks for shoveling), or it's icy and chunky (which my snowblower can't handle). I find it hard to believe that the ONLY way the snow plows can do their job is to throw street snow onto my sidewalk.

I've told my wife that if I was ever outside while a snow plow was doing this, I was going to flag him down and explain my predicament to him. That day came today. A plow was going by my house and I flagged him down. Somewhat to my surprise, he stopped and rolled down his window. I asked him if he and his compatriots could slow down while plowing so I don't have to re-shovel/blow my sidewalk every time they plow. His response was that the snow was so light that he couldn't control where it went, and that it didn't matter if he was going fast or not. I replied by saying something like, "OK. It just sucks that I always have to shovel my sidewalk twice." He tried to encourage me by saying that he was going to have to plow twice, too. Ok, but that's not the point.

Here's the point: the city of South Saint Paul requires that I clear my sidewalk of snow within 12 hours of a snow fall, or face a fine. If I comply with those standards, doesn't it seem a tad bit stinky of them to throw more snow back onto my sidewalk, forcing me to comply with them again? Would I be fined if I complied with the snow that fell on my sidewalk, but failed to clear the snow that the plows threw on my sidewalk? Most definitely. But the city is the one that put the snow there!

I have no problem with complying with the city's regulations. It just seems that sometimes the city is working against me.

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