Buy a Shovel to Keep you Sidewalks clean and your Pockets Full

Issue: The Brookings City Council passed an ordinance on Jan. 10 requiring homeowners and renters clear their sidewalks within 48 hours of a snowfall and if they do not, they will be fined $60.

This isn’t a new ordinance, mostly it’s an upgrade from the previous version that gets rid of the warning process and slaps offenders with a flat $60 fine. We are glad this was passed.

Snowy sidewalks are a nuisance—plain and simple.

For one, it looks bad. Just like people need to mow their lawns during warmer months, they should shovel their sidewalks when snow is on the ground. We have all seen the packed-down paths and cursed the owner or renter for making us trudge through their sidewalk. Two days is plenty of time to clear sidewalks after a snowfall and if the city council felt they needed to forego the warning process in order to get homeowners and renters to clear their sidewalks faster, then we can’t blame them for that.

Also, it is a safety issue. Dave Miller, the chair of the Brookings Disability Committee, brought up the concerns of physically impaired people, and these concerns needed an ear. If snow is not shoveled right away and it has a chance to melt and then refreeze overnight, it makes for a slippery walk to work or school. Let’s not pretend we haven’t seen people slip because of a slippery sidewalk and laughed under our breath (or openly), but nonetheless, it should not happen—especially because 48 hours is allocated to clear it.

Shoveling is a pain, but it beats the pain you’ll feel when you or someone else slips and falls. For everyone’s safety, just bear the cold for about 10 to 20 minutes.

Also, keep in mind that the cost of a new shovel, or even the hourly wage of a snow removal company are probably cheaper than the new fine. With a winter like we have had, hardware stores are probably begging people to purchase the plastic plows.

Stance: Shoveling takes 20 minutes, not 48 hours. Shovel your sidewalks faster.