A mandatory time-out period was declared after a foolhardy foray into the topic of snow removal two weeks ago. Emotions were high – as were the piles of snow. There was an avalanche of letters.
So with this week’s warming trend, we will explore some of those icy issues.
I’m a downtown resident who is doing my best to shovel. However, the city pushed three feet of snow in the parking space next to my house, reducing my already limited parking. Am I expected to do a better job at snow removal than the city? – Perplexed
The main issue here is the phrase “snow removal.”
Unless the city hires a front-end loader and a dump truck, there isn’t much “removal” going on. It’s more like “relocation.”
There are winters in which the city must hire heavy equipment and dump the snow on land across from Rivergate, where it becomes a massive, smelly, filthy glacier that lingers into June.
So civic “snow removal” is a lose-lose situation. Action Line suggests getting some black cloth or plastic and covering your snow mound during the day.
Call it a cheapskate solar snow oven, but nature will do a better job than city intervention.
If I slip on a path the city is supposed to maintain, can I then sue the city? The bridge across the Animas River between 15th and 17th streets was never touched by a shovel. I know that suing the city is like taking money out of my own pocket, but how else do we get the city to follow its own rules? – Slick Rick
You certainly can sue the city, but the deck is stacked against you.
Action Line checked with a personal-injury attorney. The initial consultation was free, of course.
“I don’t know a lawyer in town who would take a slip-and-fall case against the city,” he candidly said, citing rules, limitations, hearings and a lot of legal posturing required long before you can even show up in a courtroom.
“Unless it’s a really, really bad situation, it won’t be worth the time, hassle and money even if you have a decent case.”
Forget the courts and take matters into your own hands, er, feet.
Just a short skate away from that Bridge of Icy Doom is a great shop called For The Birds, which sells Yaktrax, a nifty traction device you can slip over your shoes.
Yaktrax in your coat pocket provides freedom from government incompetence, bringing new meaning to the phrase, “Don’t Tread On Me.”
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And finally, thanks to “Sleepless Shoveler,” a reader who prefers to remain anonymous, who penned a blistering and hysterical municipal missive that included these observations:
“I know we are supposed to love the snow, for the skiing, for the rivers, for any number of reasons in this region. But I hate the snow. Hate is a strong word, and my wife and I try to dissuade our kids from using it. So let’s put it this way: I despise the snowplows.
“I am disappointed in their callous approach to their duty. In the wee hours of the morning, when I hear them rumbling by our house, I wake up in a cold sweat because I haven’t yet gotten the chance to get out there and stake out my territory, guard it with my shovel.
“It’s when they callously drive by and shoot a berm of the worst kind of snow boulders over my sidewalk that I go volcanic.
“I’ve talked to the city. ‘That’s just the way it is,’ I was told, by the caustically helpful lady who answered the snow-removal line when I called.
“I have chatted with the head of the snowplow crews, who as much as said, ‘Tough luck, buddy,’ though he said it nicely. I have sent letters to elected officials and the city manager. Pleading gets you nowhere in this town.”
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you remember there are 10 more shopping days until Snowdown.