In clever language the Madison City Council will take up Tuesday night a provision that will place the responsibility of clearing concrete bus stops of snow and ice to adjacent property owners. With an ever-increasing interest in holding down property taxes, and making the bottom line look better for city hall, some Madison homeowners (between 200-300) are about to be stuck with a big task.
Depending on much snow falls this winter it could be a big heavy unforgiving job for property owners ‘lucky enough’ to have a concrete bus stop in front on their residence. The Madison City Council will accomplish this by cleverly changing the wording for the definition of a sidewalk.
Here is what is proposed:
It will expand the definition of “sidewalk” to include concrete pads that serve as bus stops, as well as a five foot wide path from the sidewalk to the pad and to the nearest lane of travel in the street. By expanding this definition, this ordinance will require adjacent property owners to remove all snow and ice from concrete bus stops and make a path, at least five feet wide and to the ground, from the sidewalk through the concrete pad and to the nearest lane of travel in the street. This will include a continuing obligation to remove all snow or ice that continues to accumulate in the street between the nearest lane of travel and the bus stop. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that the bus stops are accessible to persons with disabilities during the winter.
While my street is too narrow to be used by city busses I am very aware that some in the neighborhood try to do whatever is possible to keep the concrete bus stop cleared in front of their homes. They do that as a common courtesy. They voluntarily to do that for others.
But there is no way to do the job when monster storms produce huge snowfalls, or we have winters that get marked down for the record number of inches on the ground. On top of that the city snow plows keep sending huge hard chunks of snow into the bus stop area that only makes a bad situation even worse. That is why city employees are needed with their machines to clear the concrete bus stops.
Last December when all the snow hardened into ice was a prime example as to why it should not be the homeowner’s responsibility for the clearing of the concrete bus stops. That was just one impossible winter storm that Madison is noted for experiencing many times every year.
What happens if a resident takes off three weeks for Arizona, or has a broken arm, or a dreaded case of the flu, and can not take on the additional burden that Madison City Hall wants to place on the homeowner’s shoulders? If someone were to fall and break a leg due to the snow or ice not getting moved from a concrete bus stop who gets sued? The homeowner?
This is crazy!
This is an unreasonable burden to place on property owners. The fiscal note shows that they are shifting the cost of this maintenance on the adjacent property owner, but I am told by those who will feel the impact that they have not been notified of this proposed change. Seems like Mayor Dave might now have a topic to use his blog for real soon!
This nutty idea needs to be voted down…..by all the alders when they meet on Tuesday.
But just in case they do not I am going to look at the Old Farmer’s Almanac and see how many inches of snow they are predicting for Madison…..