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Brighton Center shoveling violations tour
By jikamens on Sun, 01/23/2011 - 12:32am
20 shoveling violations in a 0.4-mile stretch of Brighton Center, many of them on or abutting city-owned property.
I've emailed the mayor a link to the video. Think he'll do anything about it?
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Shovel it over to code enforcement
The correct place to file these unshoveled sidewalk complaints is through the city's code enforcement division. Here's the link.
When entering the street address for the complaint, do not enter the city neighborhood -- this causes the form to fail for many browsers. Just enter street and street number. There is usually a response within 1-2 days, and you can check out online if violations were filed.
I sometimes shovel those curb cuts at the corner of Foster and Washington even though I live a block away. Yet I was nearly run down by a entitled 20-something chick running a red light last month in that very crosswalk... IMHO, you're best complaining about those locations where they don't shovel at all, rather than the ones that shovel 24" rather than 42". (Yes, the city requires 42" width, not 36" -- see the city's Know Your Snow.)
I've been filing complaints about unshoveled sidewalks on my block for a week. No response. The cases are still open; the sidewalks are still unshoveled. And they completely ignore complaints about unshoveled curb cuts.
The city has done a piss-poor job of dealing with the snow this year.
Is that you on Foster?
Are you the one who submitted about 2 dozen pins at once through the CitizenConnect app on a one block street in Brighton Center?
Well, if that's you, then no wonder they might be a little less than eager to deal with your perceived slights. I saw your video too...you found a *few* reasonable problems (crosswalk cut-outs have been particularly poor this winter, but at least they're there). But some of your niggling over "well, the law is 42 inches!" even though the hole was like 36 inches and down to the concrete is bordering on obsession.
The city as a whole has done an outstanding effort considering we've not only gotten record amounts of snow...but it's been cold enough between storms that it's not melting at all. On top of that, the city doesn't clean the snow from the sidewalk when you complain about it. They issue a ticket. You may never know or see that the ticket is issued. I submitted a complaint on a set of businesses that plowed the sidewalk closed. I have no idea if they got a visit from the city or not...but the sidewalk has been reopened.
I hope you can take a deep breath and enjoy the rest of the winter. I think you're focusing your energy too much on the small problems that come with digging out from 3/4 of a Shaq of snow.
If this is an outstanding effort, I'd hate to see a poor one
Wait, so now you're criticizing me for reporting violations when the city created an iPhone app explicitly intended for reporting violations and encourages residents to use it?
I walk my block and report violations that affect me. When they're not resolved a day later, I do it again, because (a) the fines are per-day, and I presume that daily reports will allow ISD to charge for multiple days of violations and (b) I've learned through years of experience that if you want attention, you have to keep complaining. I don't think reporting the violations is wrong or inappropriate, and if you think otherwise, then we'll just have to agree to disagree, unless you work for the city and can tell me for a fact that it's not something I'm supposed to be doing.
The crosswalk cut-outs are not there, at all, in many places. When they are there, they are not wide enough or not on the ramp, which means they're totally useless for people in wheelchairs. They are therefore in violation of federal law, which requires that the city keep the sidewalks fully accessible to disabled people. This is also why complaining about the narrow shoveling isn't "niggling." The reason why the regulation is 42" is because narrower than that isn't wide enough for a wheelchair, or for that matter a stroller. If the city has a regulation, they should enforce it, not wink and nod. If they're not going to enforce it, then they should take it off the books; the alternative is to encourage the mindset that flaunting the law is OK.
And many of the violations I observed where in city-owned squares and pedestrian islands, which are the city's responsibility to shovel, and which not only haven't been shoveled, but in many cases have had mountains of snow plowed onto them. The one at Wirt St. and Washington St. in Brighton Center is particularly bad; the one at Market St. and Washington St. isn't much better. The city can blame the property owners all they want for not shoveling curb cuts, but when it's city-owned property, it's the city's fault, plain and simple, and their negligence isn't just annoying; it's dangerous.
As for not knowing whether a ticket has been issued, well, I know that the cases I've opened about unshoveled sidewalks on my block haven't been closed, which means I know for a fact the city hasn't bothered to issue any tickets for them, and I doubt they're doing much better elsewhere in Brighton Center (since if they'd been in Brighton Center at all, they'd have gone down my street while they were there).
Have you ever seen a "the zak" post?
That man has a fixation on stenography and city council open meeting laws. He posts here relentlessly on those topics. He is entirely ignored now. Sometimes constantly complaining just makes you part of the squelch.
I'll also say that you don't know if tickets have been issued based on the report status on the CitizenConnect app. I still have an open status for a broken fire hydrant that was fixed weeks ago now. They do not always close the reports in a timely fashion or at all. I think it completely depends on how much time they have. Time they spend instead noting the 10-12 submitted new reports every day that you keep submitting.
Comparing me to Don Saklad...
... is totally ludicrous and not worthy of further comment.
I think it's reasonable for me to assume, if (a) I've received status updates for some of my cases, (b) none of the shoveling violations have been addressed by residents, and (c) none of the cases have been closed with comments indicating that they have been resolved, that in fact the city hasn't done anything about them.
If the city wants me to think that they have done something about my complaints, then they need to respond.
It's beyond silly to say that I should assume they've done something and just not updated the cases, when there's no visible evidence that they've done anything and the whole point of the entire system is to allow timely communication between the city and residents with complaints.
Your broken fire hydrant example is the outlier; my open, unresolved tickets aren't.
Don't expect perfection.
Many of those cutouts have snow in them because people have stepped in the nearby snowbank causing the snow to fall into the curbcut. As long as people are making a good faith effort, don't expect to see letter of the law enforcement.
No, that's not what I'm talking about
I'm talking about curb cuts that have never been shoveled.
I'm talking about curb cuts that have huge, icy mountains of snow deposited in front of them by plows.
I'm not talking about curb cuts with a little bit of snow kicked into them.
It looked like you had your ruler and was talking about a lot of the other curbs as well.
I beleive the city basically does a cost analysis after the initial plowing. If they spend 350K a day on extra plow crews and are deciding on whether to spend 450K and get all those curb cuts that you are complaining about, they usually decide to save the 100K and just not do them.
When city plows push huge mounds of snow onto private property, people win in court if they are fined or expected to clear those areas with snow. So the city doesn't fine them, and people in general have not been falling down, sueing the city, being hit by cars etc.
When that stuff happens the city usually pays that extra few hundred thousand dollars a day in snow removal.
I'm sure you're right...
...that as far as the city is concerned, it's all about money. And that sucks. I don't want the city government deciding not to provide basic city services that they're required by law to provide (the ADA requires that curb cuts be cleared) because it's cheaper not to. I want them providing the basic city services because that's their job. It's also their job to figure out how to pay for it.
And I'm sure you're right that the reason why the city won't issue citations for not shoveling curb cuts is because they know that if they do, they'll get hung out to dry for expecting property owners to clear curb cuts of huge piles of snow put there by city plows.
The right answer to that is the city, not property owners, should be clearing the curb cuts.
Eventually a disabled person is going to sue the city for not clearing them. The city can't possibly win the case, but they'll spend hundreds of thousands of lawyers defending themselves anyway, and in the end they'll surely lose. I'd rather they used that money to pay for clearing curb cuts than give it to a bunch of lawyers.
Citations finally issued on my block today
A little birdie told me that the code enforcement division finally made it out to my street this morning, perhaps as a result of the letter I carpet-bombed to the mayor, the city council and the media this morning, and issued 25 citations for improper shoveling.