Snow-clogged sidewalks along East Aurora’s Main Street are making plenty of residents and village officials angry to the point where the village is thinking of taking dated and timed photos of heavy snow buildup that could lead to citations for violators.
“This is ridiculous,” Mayor Allan Kasprzak said Monday night, after listening to several residents and village trustees complain about sidewalks not being kept cleared, even after the village sidewalk plows have done their job.
“You have people who own property and are not being responsible,” the mayor said. “This nonsense is going to stop.”
Kasprzak and trustees earlier Monday had discussed the condition of many sidewalk areas along Main, where homeowners and businesses are not doing an adequate job of keeping their sidewalk area cleared – to the point where some people have been spotted walking in Main Street because the sidewalks are such a mess.
Kasprzak said he has been researching the issue and found a community in Colorado that photographs bad sections and then includes the picture in a summons to the violator.
After the meeting, the mayor said he did not feel that system would be a drain on manpower. He said the village could respond as complaints were fielded or noticed by the code enforcement officer or police. Fines could range up to $250 for one violation, he said.
“It would seem easy, and you wouldn’t have to expend much manpower,” Kasprzak said.
But it isn’t just residents or businesses being lazy. Some noted how the problem also is impacted by snowplowing contractors who push snow into inappropriate places or dump it in village streets, assuming village snowplows will take care of it.
Police Chief Ron Krowka pointed out that it is illegal to push snow into streets.
“One of the biggest [sidewalk] offenders is the Roycroft campus, along the stone wall,” said Arthur Giacalone, a community activist.
“It used to be [kept cleared] by the town, when the Town Hall [was there], but now it’s not done at all.”
“Why does the Roycroft get away with not having to shovel?” asked Myla LeBlanc, noting it’s an area where many schoolchildren walk since the Middle School is across the street from the campus.
Trustee Ernest Scheer said he had just walked from the old Town Hall at the campus earlier Monday. “It was a bear to walk through. It was a mess,” he said.
Other trouble areas have included the spot near Dunkin’ Donuts on lower Main. Trustee Kevin Biggs said that area has been cited in the past for snow buildup on the sidewalks.
Biggs said business owners and residents need to remember that sidewalk snowplowing by the village is a courtesy.
“People are still responsible for shoveling,” he said. “I think many are waiting for that little machine to come by.”
The mayor said he’s been forced to walk in the street since the recent snowfall. “I’ve been walking in the street myself because you can’t walk through this stuff. It’s like walking on Amazonian quicksand,” he said.