Providence City Ordinance requires that property owners must shovel sidewalks within eight hours after snow stops falling. The fine for failing to shovel the sidewalks ranges from $25 to $500.
Snow-free sidewalks are more than a convenience; they are a matter of public safety. Property owners are urged to shovel sidewalks as soon as possible.
Does this mean that the city will actually enforce the ordinance? Somehow, I don’t think so. Therefore, I have written my own public service announcement directed at the pedestrians of Providence:
It’s winter time in New England, and although you may have suppressed the memory from previous years, winter means snow. Snow is cold and beautiful, like an ice sculpture, but just like an ice sculpture, it’s difficult to walk or drive through. While there is an army of vehicles dedicated to the task of clearing the snow from our city’s streets, we prefer to use “crowd sourcing” methods to clear the sidewalks for the many citizens who must travel the city by foot.* Fortunately, our city has an ordinance that requires all property owners to clear the snow from their sidewalks in an overly generous time frame (8 hours after the last flake falls). If a property owner fails to clear a sidewalk, they could be fined up to $500! Amazing, isn’t it? Don’t expect it to actually happen, though. The city told the DPW to issue the fines, the DPW wants the police to do it, the police are too busy doing other stuff…. so you know what that means, it’s into the street for you, pedestrian! Here’s an important safety tip: when you are forced to walk in the street because someone failed to shovel their sidewalk, please be sure to walk on the left-hand side of the street, facing traffic. This will allow you to see the cars approaching you and make emergency maneuvers if necessary. You can remember this with a simple mnetronomic device: AWORS BRIML SYCJOW (pronounced AY-wars BRIM-ehl SIC-jow) Obviously, that stands for, Always Walk On the Right Side, and By Right I Mean Left So You Can Jump Out of the Way. Say it with me:
AWORS BRIML SYCJOW
Got it? Seriously, I was shoveling out my walk this morning and saw so many people walking on the wrong side of the street. Although I was slow on the draw, I was just able to catch a picture of this guy:
Let’s take a closer look, ENHANCE SECTOR F-5!
Well, that doesn’t really clear things up, does it? You’ll just have to take my word for it that what is pictured is a middle-aged man walking down the wrong side of a snow-filled, slippery street with heavy traffic, while reading his iPad.
Also, on the left hand side of the un-enhanced photo you can see a driveway full of cars blocking the sidewalk thus making my shoveling job almost completely pointless.
* = FOOTNOTE: Here’s another quote from the Mayor’s PSA:
…it is important that everyone take responsibility for making sure sidewalks are safe and passable. This is especially important to ensure the safety of children who walk to school, and the many pedestrians who regularly walk in Providence. (emphasis mine)
Isn’t everyone a pedestrian at some point?