Archive for Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sidewalks in Lawrence must be cleared of snow by Thursday morning to avoid fines

January 11, 2011


Lawrence property owners have until 8 a.m. Thursday to clear public sidewalks of snow after it stopped snowing Monday night.

Code enforcement manager Brian Jimenez said the city typically starts the clock the morning after snowfall stops. City code requires snow or ice to be removed within 48 hours of the end of a snowfall or ice event.

The current ordinance took effect in December 2008, and the city’s development services division inspects properties once it receives a complaint.

Last winter the city issued about 200 tickets and received about 790 complaints. The fine for a violation is $20 per day, plus court costs.

Jimenez said inspectors do use discretion if they notice a snow plow has moved snow and ice from the street onto a sidewalk that someone has shoveled. He said they can generally tell the difference between dirty snow and ice from the street and a blanket of white snow on a sidewalk.

“We’re not in to citing people who have done their job,” Jimenez said.

In the event the removal of ice is impossible, property owners are required to place sand on the sidewalk within 48 hours.


beerbaron03 7 years, 4 months ago

seems like the city should be making better use of a tight budget than paying people to drive around looking for unshoveled sidewalks.

parrothead8 7 years, 4 months ago

The city is not "paying people to drive around looking for unshoveled sidewalks." The story clearly states that "the city’s development services division inspects properties once it receives a complaint."

Key words: "...once it receives a complaint."

So, they don't drive around looking. If someone complains, they go to the address and inspect, then decide whether or not to issue a citation.

ToriFreak13 7 years, 4 months ago

You are the clueless one if you believe there are not city employees from Utilities Dept. to Code Enforcement driving around town doing their assigned job.....and reporting on unclean sidewalks.

budwhysir 7 years, 4 months ago

"we are not ticketing people who have done their job" um what about those of us in sales???

Just wondering what will be done about all of the houses that are in foreclosure in Lawrnece, who will be in charge of doing those "jobs"?

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

That might be a good way to get even with the bank that foreclosed. Turn 'em in!

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

Or the neighbors can turn the banks in as revenge for not keeping the properties up after foreclosure, thus further dragging down the value of our homes and neighborhoods.

shawn1040 7 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence better clear my street by Thursday morning or I will send them a $20/day fine for everyday they don't clear the streets!!

pizzapete 7 years, 4 months ago

That's what I was wonding, when are they going to clear the streets?

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

After you shovel your sidewalk so they can put the snow back on your sidewalk.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 4 months ago

Well it was cleaned off but then got more over night. So I guess I will get a ticket cuz I will not be back out to clean it off. Plus what can you do when the wind keeps blowing snow like they have forecast tonight and tomorrow? Yes I am a wimp but -13 windchill just to much for me can't even breath when it is that cold.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 4 months ago

Yeah...we've shoveled ours twice so far. Fat lot of good it's done us. The wind has blown it back over the darned sidewalk. Until the wind stops or the snow melts, I doubt any of us are going to have "cleared" sidewalks. Shoveled? Sure. But "cleared"???

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

As a runner myself I don't get this are runners interfering with you or the economy? And who is to assume that all runners have money or space for a treadmill? am not sure why you have such discontent for runners....I'm not sure they are the ones hurting the economy... And if I can't run outside I go the the gym. Not sure when staying healthy became a crime or an injustice against the economy. I also don't see runners complaining about this snow. Also some people don't have cars and have to walk or take the bus to get around (i.e., they have to be able to get to the bus). I myself think this rule of shoveling the sidewalk by a certain time is somewhat humorous but there are people it does affect--people trying to get to jobs so they can stay afloat.

nonbeliverofprint 7 years, 4 months ago

You will help stimulate the economy by purchasing the treadmill. Moocher didn't say anything about runners hurting the economy.

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

I realize this --any purchase stimulates the economy! What I meant was that the answer to stimulating the economy is not just runners buying treadmills. And runners not running outside is not the answer to our troubled economy! Just seemed a little ridiculous. I just wanted to make a point that the comment seemed a little negatively targeted towards runners and I was not sure what the problem or relevance was. (and albeit I was a bit offended by the if runners are problem in lawrence...).

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

you are right running down the middle of the street is not safe running practice! But I have almost been run over many times in Lawrence--when I was crossing at a crosswalk! While it is drivers jobs to be safe--runners also have to look out and run in safe places (not in the middle of the street). I know always to look behind me at people making left hand turns when I'm crossing at a crosswalk (even if I have the go ahead). Nevertheless, running is not a bad thing which the earlier comment seemed to indicate. Runners are not bad community members...I just didn't get it--that was my only point! But you have a point about not running in the middle of the street!!!!

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

I've noticed...I visit often and refrain from commenting usually...but today I needed a little procrastination. I often find it interesting to see the diverse views we have here in lawrence...

lonely_is_an_eyesore 7 years, 4 months ago

Yesterday afternoon I was walking along an unshoveled stretch of sidewalk and ended up falling and badly twisting my knee. It required a trip to the ER and it was determined that ligament damage occurred as a result of the fall. Now I'm in a leg brace. I'll recover, but this could have been avoided if the walk had been cleared. This afternoon I have a meeting scheduled with my attorney. I'm not planning to "sue the pants off" anyone, but the negligent homeowner will be held responsible for my medical bills. Please be considerate of others and take the time to shovel your sidewalks.

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

Maybe this person did not have a choice and had to get to work...don't assume that others lives are full of choices. Not everyone has a car or can afford one. Just saying be careful about making value judgments about others without knowing their situation.

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

what's wrong with that? This is a community paper/blog...therefore I choose to be a good community member. Isn't that what you want? A good community and people who care about one another. Or is it better to take everyone down?

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

Gosh, when I fall down walking around in a snowstorm, I just figure I fell down because it was slick because I was walking around during a snowstorm. My bad. Just like today, I fortunately have a job with flextime, so since it is slick and supposed to get very cold tonight when I would be driving home, I'm going to make the choice not to drive in dangerous conditions (an hour's commute on a good day). Silly me. I guess I should drive to work, then if I have a wreck, demand that whichever public entity is responsible for maintaining the road I am driving on pay for damage to my car.

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

hahahaha I fall even when it is not slick out...:) Usually it is the same response--I fell because I well just fell. If only we could sue the "X" for car wrecks on slick roads! :)

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

Can't you guys ever tell when someone is taking you down a path? My sidewalks are shoveled. I suggest rather than lather up about who is doing what, get out there and help those who have trouble getting it done.

deec 7 years, 4 months ago

Well, yeah, me too. There's a reason my name's not Grace. But we're not going to talk about that :)

John Hamm 7 years, 4 months ago

And it's the homeowner's responsibility to keep walks cleared and safe for travel.....

ksarmychick 7 years, 4 months ago

WOW! You must really be sue happy. Maybe the negligent homeowner was at work and wasn't at home to shovel the sidewalk and it was was still snowing yesterday afternoon. According to the laws they are not in violation of any city ordinance since they don't have to be shoveled until thursday morning. Next time you should be more careful and not be so clumsy. I hope the homeowner wins and all you get is attorney fees and they countersue your lawsuit for mere stupidity and wasting their time and win.

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

First, sidewalks on private property are supposed to be maintained by the property owner.
Second, it's probable the property owner's homeowner's insurance will take care of it. Third, she probably just wants the medical bills paid; if she wants more than that, then that's "sue happy".

SnakeFist 7 years, 4 months ago

You're lying. Yesterday afternoon it was still snowing, so your position is that a sidewalk must be clear of snow at all times - even while its snowing! Good luck with that argument in court.

In any event, the sidewalk exists on an easement that the homeowner is required to honor, but the state can't (legitimately) require the homeowner to physically maintain the easement in a particular condition for the benefit of the public. Again: If its my sidewalk then I'm going to remove it (just as I could replace my grass with gravel if I wanted to avoid mowing), if its the city's sidewalk then I'm not going to maintain it.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 4 months ago

You obviously don't understand the law of easements, as indicated by your "legitimately" remark. Good luck tilting at windmills, Don Quixote.

Hudson Luce 7 years, 4 months ago

And you were walking in the middle of a snowstorm when snow was still coming down, and you failed to use reasonable care in walking on a sidewalk which could not have been cleared for you. You're a terrible neighbor. Who do you think you are, anyway, the Queen of England? You don't deserve a cent. If this were Thursday, when the property owner had a duty to clear the sidewalk, you might have a fair complaint - but in the middle of a snowstorm?

parrothead8 7 years, 4 months ago

The city ordinance requires the homeowner to clear snow from their sidewalks by Thursday morning. You fell on Monday. How are they negligent?

honestone 7 years, 4 months ago

Bring your photo of the spot you slipped on plus a notarized signature from the witness that saw you fall. In addition please bring the ambulance bill indicating where they picked you up to substantiate the claim of the fall in that particular spot.

Gaskinn 7 years, 4 months ago

If your lawyer is worth anything they will quickly to tell you your idea will go no-where. For starters there is a reason as a homeowner you have 48 hours to remove the snow. Do expect people to run home mid-day and clean off the sidewalk for you? What if the person who owns the home cannot get off work, is stuck out of the city working etc? Secondly, if they did nothing to the sidewalk and did not attempt to clear the snow in anyway your fall was based on an act of nature for which a court will not hold them liable; add to that the city has a 48 hour grace period you have an uphill battle. Further add to the fact that it continued to snow throughout the day and night, what do you expect, are you really that ignorant that you believe the snow can be removed instantly as it falls? Bottom line, you have no cause for suit and you're likely just after some "easy money", get over it, grow up, and walk more cautiously next time. But what I suspect will happen is you will continue to live your life thinking somebody owes you something for nothing. In the end, you are responsible for yourself and your medical bills, not the homeowner that did not get their walk cleared at your convenience.

Xwards 7 years, 4 months ago

Point well taken, Lonely. Although I have liability insurance, I make sure my sidewalks are cleared. I've fallen on other's icy sidewalks and don't want anybody to fall. It's part of the social compact to make life good for all and not just for our lazy selves.

nonbeliverofprint 7 years, 4 months ago

Yesterday it was snowing most of the day. I shoveled my walks & it didn't take long for them to look like I never touched them. You should stay home if you can't handle the weather.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm sorry you were injured. I wish you a speedy and full recovery.

But it was SNOWING yesterday afternoon. Perhaps you didn't notice.

There's nothing "negligent" about not getting a sidewalk shoveled in the middle of a snowstorm. I do hope your attorney explains this to you.

Heck, there's nothing that says the homeowner was even at home in the afternoon, much less able to get their sidewalk shoveled before you took your afternoon walk. And then, of course, there's the 48-hour ordinance that I assume you read about in the article before posting here.

Based on your own words, the home owner was NOT negligent. Sure, I can understand your concern about large medical bills, but that doesn't mean you can blame someone else for what was an unfortunate accident.

Tammy Graham 7 years, 4 months ago

wow, I hope you are joking.... Do you expect people to stand on the sidewalk all day just to keep it clean during a snow storm? How pathetic.

evilpenguin 7 years, 4 months ago

And this is what's wrong with America.

You might not be "suing the pants" off anyone but you're still putting the blame on somebody else when, in the real world, your fall was just as much your fault as the homeowners.

And besides, your medical bills might not sound like a lot to you, but maybe to a person who has three kids and works full time, your medical bills could be the difference between owning their home and losing their home.

It seems the attitude of a lot of people is that if something happens to them, someone else should take the blame and give them money for it. If someone was walking around outside your home in the snow, would you happily let them sue you for their medical bills? I think not. If you got cancer, would you sue your own body? I think not. So please, next time you walk around in ridiculously snowy conditions and fall over, don't make your first action a trip to your attorney.

Matt Schwartz 7 years, 4 months ago

the e.r. diagnosing ligament damage?....HA!

Dixie Jones 7 years, 4 months ago

Seriously a attorney? did you happen to think possibly the home owner is elderly ? or disabled not able to remove snow yet... did you think for a moment to travel a diff route? oh wait no you did not cause you were LOOKING for a lawsuit.. gotta love ppl like yourself. good luck with the knee hope it heals well. and hope you sleep well.

conservative 7 years, 4 months ago

Recleared my sidewalk after the plows came through. It's not that hard if you don't wait for it to become compacted into ice. @lonely, i'm pretty sure your lawyer will inform you that you don't have a case. The snowfall was still coming down and the property owner won't be held accountable for not continuously keeping it cleared.

lgreen17 7 years, 4 months ago

Clear the Kaw River bridge sidewalk! I noticed the sidewalk was cleared in front of city hall, then it just stopped at the bridge.

Kontum1972 7 years, 4 months ago

the snow plows should push the snow on the medians (like they do in chicago) e.g.on kasold..that strip with the grass on it...then the sidewlks would not have all the snow the plows push up and block your driveway...after u have cleared it for u to get out in the morning..obtw..the plows also cover up the crossing corners that the school crossing guards must work on..with the corner the city crews......he or she...has to stand in the street.

Nathan Anderson 7 years, 4 months ago

Get a grip. You're not taking Omaha Beach or anything.

fester0420 7 years, 4 months ago

sidewalks are city property. that's why u cant park on them. therefor they should clean them

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

whose paying for them though? No one wants more taxes but wants everything to get done by other people (which is not free labor). We don't even have enough people to plow! It doesn't take that long to help out your community...for free....

earthmomma 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow, what facists! I'm NOT going to go out there in the frigid temps and shovel! You can fine me, but I won't pay! This is nonsense!

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

I take it you are elderly or physically handicapped then. Perhaps you should apply to the volunteers shoveling program for those in your situation.

Or maybe you just need a backhoe.

Ksgirl2000 7 years, 4 months ago

All I can say is that this ordinance is ridiculous.

Mel Wedermyer 7 years, 4 months ago

What a bunch of cry babies. I've shoveled our driveway 4 times, twice with a snowblower and twice by hand so the noise would not bother the nieghbors. Last night I used the snowblower to clear about 4 city blocks of sidewalk. About half were already done once. I noticed two driveways that were not shoveled but had tire tracks so I did them also. I'm a fat old man, so if I could do this then most other people shouldn't have any problem. Come on people help others out.

earthmomma 7 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, but that's YOUR choice! The government shouldn't force us to work like their drones! I thought Lawrence would have a more progressive attitude towards these facist measures.

Xwards 7 years, 4 months ago

well, earthmomma...i guess you'll be happy to pay more taxes for the city to hire it out

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

yeah that was my point earlier too...everyone wants something done by other people but no one wants to pay taxes...labor is not free!

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

Wow! You really have no idea how real life works, do you? Good luck, because you're going to need it. Perhaps you should consider getting a Life Coach to help you with that.

Tulip 7 years, 4 months ago

also what just happened to helping out your neighbor? Are you against that? Sometimes we need a little order in order to get things done...clearly as you can see from this blog a lot of people would not go out and shovel their sidewalks. Not sure why you should rely on someone else to do it when if we all do it, then it will get done! Strength in numbers right?

Bob Forer 7 years, 4 months ago

You're not merely a fat old man. You're a fat old man with a six hundred dollar snow blower that many folks can't afford.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 4 months ago

It was nice that he snowblowed other people's sidewalks and a couple of driveways. That was a very neighborly thing to do.

But his good deed has been seriously diminished by his calling other people names.

lawrencian 7 years, 4 months ago

that's awesome -- I would really appreciate having a neighbor such as you. but I'm also happy to shovel my own, and do.

I agree with others, it's easier to do a little bit several times, instead of waiting for it all to be done before you even start!

Frightwig 7 years, 4 months ago

Are you a lazy fatso who is doesn't want to shovel the sidewalk? Allow me to help. Please go to Craigslist in Lawrence and look under the services section. There you'll see my ad (and many others) of people who would be happy to shovel it for you. No need to fret! Now you can get your sidewalk shoveled without even getting your butt off the couch or taking the remote out of your hand. Thank you for your time!

earthmomma 7 years, 4 months ago

No, I'm not lazy at all! I just don't like the government forcing me to do it! I'm not lazy! I practice intermediate yoga several times a week, I have five children (two of whom I'm still breastfeeding), three dogs, four cats AND I cook only home made non processed organic meals for my children! How could anyone do all that AND be lazy?

Frightwig 7 years, 4 months ago

You're in luck! This week I'm offering a 10% shoveling discount for people who use every opportunity to tell the world how unique, earthy and organic they are, regardless of the topic of conversation. Please see my snow removal ad on Craigslist. You can snack on hemp seeds in the warmth of your own home while I take care of the work. Thanks for your time!

evilpenguin 7 years, 4 months ago

I thought most people just had kids so they could send them out to shovel the sidewalk. Kudos.

John Hamm 7 years, 4 months ago

Good joke! And you walk children to school and back - uphill both ways - right?

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

I love it, health insurance should be a community concern, not a for profit unregulated sleaze ball way of taking the last bucks and let them die system.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 4 months ago

I wouldn't hire anyone with an attitude like that.

Makes me wonder how many people have decided NOT to check out Craigslist just so that they don't make the mistake of hiring Frightwig.

We'll never know, of course. But he might want to reconsider his marketing approach.

irvan moore 7 years, 4 months ago

some of us who have plenty of free time don't mind doing our walks and drives and maybe a few of our neighbors and i think we do have a responsibility to keep the walks clear. BUT, enforcing this ordinace on a complaint basis is unfair. it reminds me of the now retired and gone KU professor who used the neighborhood newsletter to blast the people who didn't clear the sidewalks he used to walk to KU but never had time to shovel his own. i think the city should figure out how to keep the one ways clear of parked cars during big snows instead of having people snitch out their neighbors.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 4 months ago

I remember that jerk. He also complained that Watson Library wasn't open (obviously this was a loooong time ago) because classes were cancelled and the buses weren't running...because it was too dangerous to drive...and he wanted to use the library on his unexpected 'day off'.

He complained to the then-Chancellor, who made us open Watson, not grasping that, since both he and the professor lived within walking distance, neither had any idea of the driving conditions. The Dean tried to talk the Chancellor out of it, to no avail.

The one reference librarian who could come that day slipped on a campus sidewalk and broke her wrist. Never made it in. My truck slid into a ditch. We had one student assistant and an assistant dean running the entire library. A couple of hours later, the Governor told us to shut down because it was so bad out.

Oh yeah. I remember that professor. Jerk.

jmadison 7 years, 4 months ago

Snow shoveling is potentially fatal per study. The city is complicit in any deaths or injuries relating to shoveling snow off the city's sidewalks.

alwalton1959 7 years, 4 months ago

would like to know who fines the city for not clearing the curb cutouts at bus stops and street crossings so that the individuals can walk and cross the street without schleping through 12 inches of crap? Not to mention someone with any physical disability being able to use the crosswalks..

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes. That's what I want to know, too. Those are horrible. And really unsafe. Very slick. Full of slippery, wet, often-icy ruts.

Richard Payton 7 years, 4 months ago

Kansas City Fox4 news suggested not to clear the sidewalks. Now Lawrence suggest removing the snow is safer. Which city ordinance is better?

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 4 months ago

There have been many times I've walked off a shovelled sidewalk and onto the snow-covered grass because the sidewalk looked/was far more slippery, even with sand on it.

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

I don't think the City of Lawrence can enforce city ordinances on state owned property, but then I'm not an attorney as so many other posters appear to be on this thread.

pace 7 years, 4 months ago

Has the city suddenly gotten jurisdiction over KU, They have never legally had that before. Did the snow create a miracle. Get over it. Regulation created by our elected city government said, shovel it if you are a home owner, or get it shovels, all the whining won't make it different. There is regulation about weeds, trash, noise, guns, etc. If you don't like them, pay attention when we elect city commissioners. If you need help call your church or a service agency, but be legitimate, don't expect help by saying you are too lazy or narcissistic to shovel your sidewalk. boohooo. Life isn't fair, ooooh

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 4 months ago

I feel an obligation to the people of my neighborhood to keep my sidewalks clear. There are many kids who walk home from school and others without cars who pass by my house daily. The thought of anyone getting hurt because I didn't bother to shovel the snow would just about kill me. I'm not worried about the threat of a citation because I make sure to provide a safe walkway as soon as possible. Please people, be kind to your neighbors and don't force them to take chances on your sidewalk. Don't let children feel compelled to walk in the street because your sidewalk hasn't been taken care of. Some shoveling and ice-melt will do wonders and the pedestrians will appreciate it. There are other ways to express disapproval with the city code. Write a letter if you need to. But please do the right thing and shovel your walks.

palmettostar 7 years, 4 months ago

Can anyone tell me if this applies to apartments or are the apartment complex landlords/company responsible for clearing the sidewalks? Last year, my apartment complex FAILED at clearing the sidewalks and I ended up spraining my wrist horribly on a sheet of ice - the whole side walk was literally a sheet of ice all the way up to my door step. I tried to get to the grass to walk in the snow and that's when I fell... just want to make sure it doesn't happen again and if they are responsible for clearing it or are under this ordinance, I'd like to complain if it doesn't get taken care of :)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

"I'd like to complain if it doesn't get taken care of :)"

The city mostly reacts to complaints on this. So if your landlord fails to clear the sidewalks in the public right of way, call the city. For the walks that aren't on public right of way, it's still likely their responsibility to get them cleared, and they'd be liable for any injuries if they are clearly negligent in clearing the ice and snow.

JackMcKee 7 years, 4 months ago

There are going to be a lot of people paying tickets.

kernal 7 years, 4 months ago

Especially since there are some KU people still out of town for the winter break and having a hard time getting back.

doc1 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm just going to save my time and throw a brick through city hall's front window.

musicstudent 7 years, 4 months ago

You can pay someone $15 to clear your sidewalk and driveway and be a good neighbor or you can get a $20 ticket and complain. Enough said.

CHKNLTL 7 years, 4 months ago

That means YOU Orchard's Golf Course!!!

Terry Sexton 7 years, 4 months ago

I used to work at a golf course. If I was still there I'm sure I'd be shoveling six miles of cart paths, even with no business.
Busy work - can't say I'm sad about the layoff.

pooter 7 years, 4 months ago

This law is unconstitutional, violating the 13th ammendment, and also vioates US law.

Read 18 U.S.C. § 1581. Peonage

Section 1581 prohibits using force, the threat of force, or the threat of legal coercion to compel a person to work against his/her will.

This law also violates The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000.

City of Lawrence, shovel your own sidewalks.


arooney04 7 years, 4 months ago

move to eudora and be done with it........

Commenting has been disabled for this item.