What to do when it snows

from Chris Hinds

As you may all remember, last November there was a large snow storm. My office heard many of you voice concerns about snow clearance and enforcement, sidewalk and curb ramp access, and pedestrian safety. The maintenance of safe sidewalks is one of my highest priorities, so I am keeping you all updated about how Denver is responding to the current storm and what you can do help keep our sidewalks safe and accessible for all.

First, Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) publishes their current snow removal plan HERE.

As of now, Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure has the full fleet of heavy snow plows working on clearing the main streets. This morning, Denver deployed its 36 residential plows. Use the tracker above for frequent updates. You can even take a peek at the live plow tracker posted there. (I have it on good authority that this is similar technology that was used to track Santa!)

The snow plan site offers some tips about traveling during snow storms – we’d like to add to their suggestions that in addition to cyclists being aware they might have to share the road with cars that drivers of cars should also be aware that cyclists will be using the public road infrastructure if DOTI has not been able to clear bike paths. We all deserve the freedom to get from A to B safely, and people choosing economics, physical health, or our planet – even in these weather conditions – should be given the opportunity to get to their destination safely, too. Remember, they don’t have a few tons of metal and glass protecting them like drivers of vehicles do.

Snow Shoveling Tips:

Denver requires that property owners clear snow and ice from their sidewalks, including adjacent ADA ramps, so that EVERYONE has safe access throughout the city!

Timing: After snow has stopped falling, businesses have 4 hours and residents have 24 hours to shovel snow off sidewalks “through the accessible path of travel” (in other words, through curb ramps).
Inspections: Inspectors leave a time-stamped notice at properties with un-shoveled sidewalks. After receiving a notice, businesses have four hours and residences have 24 hours before the inspectors re-check (and potentially issue a $150 fine).
Report A Problem: Please report addresses of unshoveled sidewalks, curb ramps, and bike lanes to Denver 311 or pocketgov.org. If you’re up for it, send your receipt or confirmation to District10@denvergov.org so we can keep track of how well the City is responding to your concerns.

I was in the news A LOT recently regarding the City’s enforcement for keeping the Right-Of-Way clear of snow. Read up on my thoughts on Denver and snow removal with a partial list of news articles:

Lack of enforcement creates obstacles during snowy week for disabled community
Plows Hit Denver’s Residential Streets With De-Icer To Clear Roads
When it comes to clearing snowy and icy sidewalks, snitches prevent stitches
Denver to treat icy residential streets following complaints
After big storm, Denver residents reported 1,439 unshoveled sidewalks. Only 36 tickets have been issued.