Takoma Park prepares to legalize three foot width for snow clearance
According to the Gazette ("Takoma Park considers reducing fine for snow removal"), the City of Takoma Park plans a bunch of changes to its ordinance on snow removal. From the article:
Takoma Park officials are considering changes to the city’s snow policies, including reducing the fine from $200 to $25 for those who do not shovel snow from the public sidewalk adjacent to their property. ...However, three-feet is not wide enough for people to walk next to each other, or for people going in opposite directions to be able to pass each other, without having to step in and or walk in the ice and snow.
Stewart joined Schultz, Male and Seamens in an informal vote Monday requiring residents and business owners to remove snow from only a three-foot-wide part of a sidewalk, rather than the entire sidewalk. Many sidewalks are in commercial areas or don’t have a strip of lawn to deposit snow, Male said.
But that width does not allow for some users, such as people in wheelchairs or cyclists, said Smith, who supported a wider swath.
While this path width is less than 3-feet wide, more like 2-feet wide, it illustrates the problem well enough.
A three-feet width for snow clearance is inadequate for commercial districts. The point is for commercial districts to be competitive through maintenance and other factors, rather than encouraging them to lag the practices in better managed commercial districts.
In terms of planning for the walking-transit-bicycling city, this proposed change is a step backwards.
Takoma Park is two cities too. Part of the problem is that Takoma Park, not unlike DC, is "two cities," the walking city in the core, although the residential lots are pretty big, where thousands of people walk each day during the work week to the Takoma Metrorail Station, which is just across the city line in Takoma and they may stop by the Old Takoma commercial district on their way home from work, and the outer city, which is a mix of automobile semi-dependent neighborhoods and strip shopping districts.
"Snowmageddon, 2010," Carroll Avenue @ Eastern Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland.
For the core, Takoma Park's "walking city," a three-foot wide requirement for snow clearance is a bad policy and regulation.