I know this is a yearly request, but last week’s storm demonstrated Durango’s utter cluelessness when it comes to snow, inability to drive notwithstanding. Could you please once again inform the ignorant masses that they must shovel the sidewalks? It’s not that tough, and it’s required by law! Sheesh. Sign me, Fallon McKeister
Action Line was wondering when a Gentle Reader would inquire about neighbors getting a handle on shovels.
Apparently, it takes less than 24 hours after a massive 8-inch blizzard of historic proportions for people to start griping.
For Durangoans with fewer than two years of residency, less than a foot of snow is mind-blowing, a Pow-mageddon or Sno-pocalypse.
Newbies immediately go to social media to post photos of white stuff heaped on patio furniture along with keen meteorological insights such as “OMG” with an asinine emoticon.
Just to be fair, foul weather has not been normal fare.
For example, last winter (November 2017 through March 2018), the National Weather Service notched a bone-crushingly dry winter with 1.13 inches of total moisture in a paltry 10.1 total inches of snow.
Last December, Durango saw half an inch of snow. That’s it.
So far this month, Durango has seen 14.2 inches of snow.
Um. It’s pretty good. But consider that the average December snowfall in Durango is 13.7 inches, looking back at NOAA data from 1981 to 2010.
But at least we’re Above Average, a crucial factor for perpetuating the “Durango Lifestyle.”
The vaunted Durango Lifestyle relies on bogus metrics in which everything is reported to be Above Average, including school test scores, restaurants per capita, and number of “epic” mountain bike rides, power days and festivals attended.
(Why must everything be “epic?” If someone could answer that, it would be awesome.)
As a side note, Above Average would also describe local housing prices, cost of living and collective blood alcohol content. But that’s another matter altogether.
Let’s stop shoveling it on thickly and get back to snow removal.
The city does indeed have specific laws regarding the relocation of atmospheric flotsam and jetsam. Rules can be found in the City Code at Chapter 21, Article III, titled quite appropriately “Snow and Ice.”
Section 36 piles it on: “It shall be the duty of the owner, tenant and occupant of any premises abutting or adjoining any public sidewalk to remove all snow and ice from such sidewalk.”
So, you ... dude in the rental bro-house with all the bikes on the porch, it’s your “duty” to remove snow. What’s the first syllable of duty? It’s “do.” Get it?
Likewise, Inattentive Downtown Merchant Person. Your out-of-town landlord isn’t going to make a special snow-removal trip. In the time it takes to call him or her to complain, you could have cleared the sidewalk.
You are hereby warned. If you don’t shovel, the city will hire a contractor.
After which, you will receive a bill for the work done plus up to 25 bucks as an “administrative fee,” which is otherwise known as a scofflaw dip-stick surcharge.
Pushers of precipitation, we have it easy. If you shovel snow off a “public sidewalk,” you can push it over the curb and into the street.
So there will be snow excuses. When push comes to shovel, the city sidewalks have a “clear” advantage.
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if your New Year’s Eve will involve the Same Old Thing.