The recent snowfall and street cleaning efforts should be a stark reminder of the common sense etiquette that needs to prevail in the minds of homeowners on residential streets when crews are out and about trying to do their jobs.
The first rule of thumb should be to immediately remove parked vehicles from the snow filled roads into your driveways or garages so the crews can clean the total roadway.
Failure to do this is an ongoing problem, and one that also hinders delivery of the mail when snow accumulations become so great that mail vans can't and won't access the mailboxes.
The City ordinance states that "the owner, driver or any other person having under his control or charge any vehicle of any kind whatever, shall not cause, permit or allow such vehicle to stand or remain in any one place for a longer period than 72 hours upon any street or alley in the city of West Fargo." There are signs posted on all street entrances to the City to notify the public of this restriction.
In my opinion, that's way too long a time frame when adverse, winter weather conditions hinder the roadways. This is where good, old common sense needs to enter into the picture. People need to move their vehicles immediately so proper street cleaning can occur, so nobody else has to look at it after the fact, or worse yet, park in it.
Right now the City has patrol officers who scout for such vehicles and if they are deemed in violation, the penalty process is set in motion. Those responsible for the vehicles are given 24 hours to remove them and if they still remain they are towed away.
Police officials say there have been a 'fair number' of towing situations that end up with the fine still being charged and the individual assuming responsibility for getting their car back and the expenses involved with that.
Again, here is where common sense should weigh in. Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier and less aggravating for everyone to move the vehicles in the first place in a timely manner so none of this has to occur?
As for mail delivery, the path to and from the mailboxes must allow for safe delivery, i.e. be clear to allow mail drivers to pull in, reach out their window and place the mail in the box and then be able to pull away again, unencumbered by snow. City ordinance also states that vehicles must be parked so there is a 15-foot clearance to the mailbox between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
It is also the homeowner's responsibility to keep sidewalks snow and ice free so individuals walking have a safe, dry path to follow. No ice or snow is allowed to stand or remain on any public sidewalk within the City. This applies to both residential and business areas, of course. If individuals neglect or refuse to remove the snow or ice on the public sidewalk abutting their property, after a 48 hour notice by the superintendent of streets, the individuals may be subject to penalties including having city employees remove the ice or snow with the expense incurred in the removal charged and assessed against the abutting property by special assessment as outlined by law.
So when it comes to dealing with winter conditions and the aftereffects of heavy snow and the clean-up that entails, be proactive, remembering that a little bit of common sense will always go a long way in avoiding unnecessary, annoying, and sometimes even dangerous situations.