Lawrence prepares to fine residents for snow-packed sidewalks - KCTV5

Lawrence prepares to fine residents for snow-packed sidewalks

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Sidewalk in Lawrence Sidewalk in Lawrence
LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -

The city of Lawrence says it is prepared to fine residents who don't clear snow-packed sidewalks in accordance with municipal ordinance.

The ordinance's provisions regarding public sidewalks took effect at 8 a.m. Friday, which is 48 hours after the snow finished falling in Lawrence.

"The forecast calls for potential of more snow over the weekend so we are encouraging people to shovel their sidewalks before more snow falls," the city said.

In the past, the city did not issue tickets over the weekend because of overtime costs.

Some of those who didn't tidy up after the storm ended are now regretting that decision. The fluffy, light snow has turned into crusty, icy snow.

"It is probably tougher than if I had done it at the beginning," said resident Ryan Loffelman who needed to replace a broken shovel. "I'm just trying to follow the rules and get it done."

The city does allow that if a sidewalk is ice packed that sand can be used in place of shoveling.

The city began issuing tickets in 2008. In 2008, 326 citations were issued. The number was 310 in 2009; 479 in 201; 652 in 2011; 4 in 2012; and 279 in 2013 when two major snowstorms hit in February.

The small number in 2012 was due to in part that there were no significant snowstorms and when snow did fall that it quickly melted.

Nine complaints were filed online Friday morning when the city began to accept complaints. City officials investigated those complaints.

"I definitely think there are more people shoveling, and I think people are recognizing we are a walkable community and they want people to get around," Lawrence spokeswoman Megan Gilliland said.

University of Kansas student Esteban Gomez said he uses sidewalks while walking to and from the campus. He said he has had a couple of close calls on slick unshoveled sidewalks. He said he would award an overall grade of a C or C+.

Failure to clear a sidewalk results in a fine of $20 per day plus court costs.

For more information or to file a complaint, click here.

If you are elderly or disabled, Lawrence does have a program to help pair you up with residents who will shovel for you. This year's sign up is full and you need to call in the fall to get signed up for next winter's list.

Many municipalities in the Kansas City area do not have shoveling-snow ordinances. Prairie Village does have an ordinance and sent a reminder via email to residents earlier this week. Liberty, Shawnee, Kansas City, Blue Springs and Independence does have ordinances.

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