Wednesday, March 19, 2014

UW-L Area Sidewalks Difficult to Navigate, by Bryan Hall

Poor sidewalk conditions have recently made UW-L student’s walk to campus a danger. Freezing rain followed by low temperatures and snowfall created paths ridden with large divots, patches of ice, and piles of snow.

Most areas on campus have been maintained well enough. They are frequently shoveled and salted, but many of the connecting walks right outside of campus are in worse condition.

Large stretches of sidewalk throughout the area have been left unkempt. Even a week after the ice storm of Feb. 20, which closed the campus that day, LaCrosse Street from City Hall to West Avenue was ice-covered the whole distance, both sides.

The City of La Crosse requires residents to clear the sidewalk areas that extend around their property of all snow and ice. This snow should be deposited in the border areas between the curb and the sidewalk. The problem with these policies occurs when snow and ice are frozen into a hard pack, which can be difficult or impossible to break up with a standard shovel.

La Crosse City Ordinance 5.08 states “If packed snow cannot be removed; it should be treated as ice and sprinkled with ashes, sand or salt until such a time that it can be removed.”

The fine for an infraction of this ordinance is $2.50 per lineal foot of sidewalk for properties that are not shoveled a day after snowfall. Most student leases will require the tenants to uphold the shoveling ordinances, but they are not always strictly enforced.

Warming temperatures have brought a temporary respite, but the 2014 Farmer’s Almanac predicts average 25 degree temperatures and consistent snowfall throughout the month of March.