Liberty btw Main and Fourth

Stopped. Watched. icon

The fairies have done a great job of keeping their walked clear [photo one]. The fairies are setting a good example that is not being followed elsewhere. This fire hydrant [photo two] remains buried in snow at the corner of Fourth Ave. Further up Liberty at the new parking structure, the handicapped spots are being commandeered as the repository for plowed snow [photo three] from the non-handicapped spots. Meanwhile, I also saw wheelchair users taking to the streets since the sidewalks are in bad shape. The Federal building sidewalk was the worst that I observed, with not even two people able to walk side by side for most of it.

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  1. By Linda Diane Feldt
    January 8, 2014 at 5:45 pm | permalink

    The buried fire hydrant is just three blocks from the station. Who is responsible for keeping it clear? The DDA? The property owner? The restaurant?
    The elimination of the handicapped spots at the city owned parking structure is a greater puzzle, is there a law or ordinance or parking policy that applies to that bad idea? Perhaps the logic was that disabled people won’t need them because many of the sidewalks downtown remain in ad shape, especially for someone who has mobility concerns.
    And why is the Federal building apparently exempt from the sidewalk clearing ordinance?
    These are my questions after an otherwise very pleasant walk downtown.

  2. January 8, 2014 at 9:59 pm | permalink

    Thanks for the report, email sent to a couple of folks who should be able to make a difference. We’ll see if the snowmelt this weekend clears the problems by itself (I doubt it those are pretty big piles of snow in the handicap spots!)

  3. By anna ercoli schnitzer
    January 9, 2014 at 10:13 am | permalink

    Thanks for bringing these items to our attention, Linda. Because of your post, several people have already made phone calls to various individuals on the City staff pointing out the problems you described. I just read on FaceBook that some of the “accessible” parking spots have been cleared by the DDA and others of the mounds of snow that had been stored there. It would also be good to have clarification and answers to your question: i.e. who is responsible for keeping the fire hydrants downtown clear? As many people know, we have already had several serious fires locally just in the past few days, and the firefighters have asked citizens to uncover and clear their neighborhood fire hydrants.

  4. By George Hammond
    January 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm | permalink

    The city has suspended their web-based service request system, but they still take service requests by email and phone. Why not just call these things in? [link]

  5. By Donna Estabrook
    January 10, 2014 at 5:27 pm | permalink

    Downtown sidewalks are not the only problem. A couple of days ago (plenty of time after the major snow to clear the walks) almost nowhere on Maple/Stadium between Maple Village Shopping Center, south along Maple and Stadium up to Pauline (and maybe farther) was the walk clear of snow. Most people drive to the parking lots in that area but there really are pedestrians as well. AAATA does go out there and that means pedestrians. The businesses along there, including the shopping centers, even if their headquarters is on Mars, should be required to clear those sidewalks of snow and ice.

  6. By Linda Diane Feldt
    January 10, 2014 at 5:58 pm | permalink

    George, I mostly email Community Standards and get very good responses. A “stopped watched” item usually has a broader purpose, and I am truly curious about who is responsible for what. I’ve also found that Chronicle readers are very knowledgeable. On a day when I don’t have time to make a lot of phone calls or web searching, a stopped watched question is a faster way to get interesting answers.
    I do believe that one of the goals and successes of the Chronicle’s stopped watched column is to raise a level of awareness, and make us all better observers. And commenting on things other people have stopped and watched is a nice shared experience. So that is why I didn’t just make a phone call.
    There is also no excuse for businesses not clearing in front of their stores, Donna, I agree. I’ve stopped and asked businesses to clear their paths or pointed out ice to them. But reporting to the city also works well. Sending in a list of businesses by email is pretty convenient.
    It is a constant task, best addressed from many angles.

  7. By TJ
    January 10, 2014 at 9:15 pm | permalink

    I wonder if the situation with handicapped spots is that the plow operators push all the snow to the edges, and handicapped spots tend to be at the end of the row. If it’s that (oversight / failure to think through consequences), perhaps those who write the plowing contracts should include such things in their contracts. “Make sure handicapped spots and access areas are clear. Make sure hydrants are clear.” etc.