It’s deadline to shovel priority walks
Three days – 72 hours – since the last snowstorm is the grace period before residents and businesses are to shovel sidewalks on their properties. The city law applies to “priority sidewalks” in the vicinity of schools, although officials would like to see sidewalks throughout the city cleared.
The deadline following the last major snow event was yesterday and, judging from a drive-by survey on many of the priority sidewalks, some are cleared but many are covered by a rock-hard mound of ice and snow.
Last week the Police Department issued a release reminding citizens of the law and priority sidewalks.
“The goal is to get sidewalks clear and not to give out fines,” said Sgt. John Kelly of the traffic division.
According to the ordinance approved by the City Council on the basis of the recommendations of a study committee, the first violation is a warning followed by a $100 fine for the second violation. The law further empowers the city to clear the walk and to charge the property owner for the work.
For the moment, the major area of concern for Kelly is the even-numbered properties on Main Avenue in the vicinity of Wickes School. The road is heavily traveled and, he said, a number of students walk to school. The priority list calls for Main Avenue sidewalks on the even-numbered side of the road to be cleared from Industrial Drive to Buttonwoods Avenue.
Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur, who formed the study commission after the city started issuing citations under the former law, noted Tuesday the law provides for hardship cases for people who physically can’t do the work and don’t have the resources to pay to have it done. These people should contact the city’s human service division. Reflecting on committee deliberations, Ladouceur recalled he had sought to have the school department waive walking requirements for busing at those times following heavy snowfalls when walks would be covered. That couldn’t be worked out, however.
It is unclear whether a warning counts as the first offense from year to year. Kelly said police have the ability to track that as once a warning or citation is issued, the department would have it in its computer database.
Questions can be referred to the Warwick Police Department’s Traffic Unit (468-4343).