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Let it snow, safely

Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com City of Superior crews remove snow from East 2nd Street in Superior on Monday morning.

Before the next big storm hits, a concentrated effort is underway to dispel snow removal rumors in Superior and put everyone on the same page.

"We need to put this out every year as a courtesy so every business is aware of what the policies are," said Lindsey Jacobson, executive director of the Superior Business Improvement District. "A lot of new property owners, new business owners are not aware."

Blocked lanes and sight-obstructed intersections were observed in Superior following recent heavy snowfalls. That led Code Compliance Officer Lee Sandok Baker to begin local outreach on snow removal do's and don'ts.

She wrote a letter on the city's snow removal codes with Street Superintendent Nathan Johnstad. It has been posted on the BID website, www.superiorbid.com/news. The pair are willing to sit down and talk with any business owner or resident.

"We want to educate people first," Sandok Baker said.

City code requires that residents and businesses alike keep sidewalks clear of snow. That means maintaining a path wide enough for a wheelchair to get through. On some of Superior's wider sidewalks, snow can be piled along the sidewalk beside the path. That's OK, Sandok Baker said, so long as it's not spilling into the street.

How soon does it have to be done? Within 48 hours from the end of a snowfall, she said, although one rumor making the rounds claims it's 72.

"The 72 hours doesn't exist anywhere in code," Sandok Baker said.

City crews will pick up snow removed from the city right-of-way, including alleyways and on-street parking spaces.

Right-of-way snow must be cleared in a way that doesn't obstruct traffic, restrict vision at intersections, threaten public safety or take up public parking from other businesses without their permission.

"Use common sense," Sandok Baker said. "If you can't drive out and see what you're doing, it's a problem."

For on-street parking, that may require piling snow in one or two of the midblock spaces. Communication between businesses can help with the process.

It may take time for city crews to remove right-of-way snow.

"It can be challenging, especially when you see trucks out helping get rid of snow," Jacobson said. "They're there to get the streets plowed."

Plow crews have a wide area to cover, she said, not just downtown. She encouraged business owners to work together.

"Downtown is all of ours," Jacobson said.

The city will not haul away snow that comes from private property like parking lots or driveways.

If it's part of a snow removal process, small amounts can be transferred to and away from the curbside, Sandok Baker said, but it can't be left until someone can come and get it.

"If someone starts moving snow around, even city property snow ... they are responsible for that snow," she said, and any accidents it causes.

Citations start at $326.50 and can be issued daily to anyone who is does not follow snow removal codes.

Sandok Baker encouraged residents to take a picture or shoot a quick video if they see someone removing snow incorrectly, and asked that businesses not pile snow up around tree planters and benches.

Contact Sandok Baker at (715) 395-7596 or codecompliance@ci.superior.wi.us with questions or concerns.

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