Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In support of a year-round walkable city

Tonight at 5:30 in the 2nd floor court room of City Hall the Common Council's Law Committee will be meeting to discuss my proposed changes to city code designed to help address Albany's unshoveled winter sidewalks. There will be public comment -- feel free to attend. Click here to read the proposed changes.

Too many property owners do not shovel their sidewalks as required by city code: 24 hours after the cessation of a snow fall. This makes walking on sidewalks hazardous for all pedestrians -- and is particularly dangerous for children, senior citizens and people with disabilities, who often are forced to walk in the street instead of on the sidewalk because the sidewalks are too treacherous.

The changes remove language that provides property owners with an additional 24 hours to clear the snow after a complaint is made about a snowy or icy sidewalk. Often complaints come in several days after a snowfall, and when it snows in between, the clock starts all over again. My hope is that this change will serve to educate property owners about the need to clear sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of  snowfall, rather than waiting until they receive a citation from the city.

We need to make sure that we are a walkable city year-round, not just when the snow melts. Albany's unshoveled winter sidewalks have been a concern of mine since I first came here as a college student in 1986. I have written about it in the past including this letter to the editor from 2007 and on this "Wish List" from 2008. Let's get this problem addressed!

Click here to read the Times Union article about my most recent snow shoveling ordinance.

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