|1/2/2013 1:20:00 PM|
New Leavenworth city ordinance requires sidewalks be cleared of snow
|Photo by Ian Dunn|
This is a view of the snow covered sidewalk on Front Street, across from Danís Food Market. Most of the new sidewalk, between U.S. Highway 2 and Division Street is under several feet of now. A new city law, which began Jan. 1, requires property owners to clear the snow from the sidewalk adjacent to their property.
A look down newly designed Front Street is very telling. The new sidewalks can hardly be seen, as all are covered in deep snow. Those walking are forced onto the street, just as before.
As it turns out, this particular site is not exactly what city officials had in mind. As of Jan. 1, a new city ordinance mandates that property owners clear the snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property. Leavenworth City Administrator Joel Walinski said the new law gives the city a little more teeth.
"In the event the sidewalks are not cleared, the city can, if we do get a complaint, give notice to the property owner to remove the snow," Walinski said. "If they don't do that within 24 hours, the city can hire somebody and then put a lien against the property to collect those fees."
Just like Front Street downtown, Walinski said he expects property owners on Front Street, from Division Street to U.S. Highway 2, to clear the sidewalk.
"We understand they haven't had sidewalks in the past. This is a new thing, but it is something we need to move forward with," he said. "Once we get through the holiday weekends, we'll be sending out notices to the property owners there to push this along. It's going to take a little while to get people to change."
Warnings will be sent out initially, Walinski said, just like they do for the snowplowing. As of Nov. 15, no on-street parking is permitted on city streets overnight, to allow snowplows to come through.
For two weeks, warnings are issues. After that, tickets are written. Finally, vehicles will be towed for noncompliance.
"We will proceed the same way with the snow shoveling," he said. "As we get started, we'll be issuing a number of notices about the rules, that they need to clean the sidewalks. Then, we'll get a bit firmer. Finally, we'll get to a point to where we clean off the sidewalks."
It is sometimes difficult for property owners to keep the sidewalks clear, especially when people tramp down the snow. But, Walinski said it can be done with the little rock salt and elbow grease.
Parking at the old warehouse site was a big hit over the Christmas Lighting weekends. Walinski reports all the lots were full on the Saturdays, and about half full on Sundays. On Saturday, there were people collecting, while on Sundays, motorists dropped their payment in a box. He said they had pretty good compliance.
"In terms of revenue, we hit the numbers expected," he said. "That is a good thing. The question we have is what do the revenues look like on the weekdays. That is the part we'll be looking at as we move forward this winter."
City officials are working on some long term plans for the site, but in the short term, Walinski said they would like to add some solar powered lighting and some landscaping, doing away with the construction fence there.
"Once we get rid of the fence, we'll need to put up barriers to guide people to the parking," he said. "A little further down the road, but still needs to be addressed, is the drainage and spillage containment. That is typical for a parking lot."
Cost for the parking is $10 per day on festival weekends, and $5 per day on a non-festival weekends or during the week.
Icicle Station building
The new warming hut at Icicle Station is now up and running. Getting the building operational proved problematic initially because of the snow. But now the electrical is installed and the ramp.
The building will not be open all the time, only during certain hours, coinciding with the train arrival. It will be open in the morning from 5 to 10 a.m. for the 6 a.m. train going to Seattle. The hut will be open also around 8 p.m. for the train returning from Seattle. The hours might fluctuate a little depending on the train arrival, Walinski said.
"They are going to lock it up after the last train because we don't that to be a place where transients camp out," he said. "We have a service in town that locks things up for us. We'll add this to the list."
At night, people from the senior center lock the downtown bathrooms. Walinski said they will be asked to lock the warming hut as well. But they are still figuring out how to get it unlocked in the morning.
Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or email@example.com.
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