Slip Sidewalkin’ Away

An alert — and very concerned — “06880” reader sent this photo. It shows Main Street, as of an hour or so ago:

Main Street sidewalk

The reader says:

 More than a few retailers routinely fail to remove snow from the sidewalk in front of their stores. With another snowstorm (or two) on the way, this creates a public safety hazard. Personally, it bugs me more than when certain retailers keep their doors open during hot summer weather!

The reader is not just bitching and moaning. Here’s the town policy:

SIDEWALKS – Per town ordinance, businesses are responsible for keeping all sidewalks along their property clear of snow and ice.

There are 2 reasons our cops shouldn’t have to enforce sidewalk clearing regulations.

  1. They’ve got enough to do anyways.
  2. It’s more than the law for businesses to clear sidewalks. It’s simple, common courtesy.

10 responses to “Slip Sidewalkin’ Away

  1. Holly Wheeler

    If the town would begin to issue fines (and it’s not too hard to locate the perps), the situation might be remedied. Maybe the businesses would start to take the town ordinances seriously. And, like parking tickets, if the fines are not paid by x days, the fees should skyrocket!
    I will not patronize a store with an unshoveled walk, and suggest others do likewise.

  2. Someone should take a look at Saugatuck, too. The sidewalks — even the ones owned by the Gaults — are rarely cleared with any sense of efficiency.

  3. back to the entitlement mentality?

  4. Adam Schwartz '75

    Has anyone tried to simply call this store to remind them how serious this? Maybe they don’t realize the situation outside their store? Since every store in Westport is now a corporate conglomerate, maybe they didn’t get the memo?

  5. Sandy Soennichsen

    As I understand it, the rules are that the landlord/storekeeper has to completely clean the sidewalk BUT they cannot shovel it onto the street, The town is only responsible for curb to curb. And there is supposed to be a “safety officer” on the police department to issue summonses, but no one knows who it is. So there we have it. So I guess the storekeepers need to shovel the snow into a pile, and then when each customer comes in, fill their bag with snow and have them take it with them. Could it be any more idiotic in this town? We have a ghost for a Safety Officer, and Catch 22 on who should do what with the snow. And the DMA has no clue as to where to begin to address the issue.

  6. Lesley Anderson

    I walked past those stores this morning and found it to be extremely slippery. I would not like to see someone fall and get hurt. When it does and they have a law suit, things will change! Too bad.

  7. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Déjà vu all over again, it seems. Is this not the third story in the last year regarding snow removal on Westport streets and sidewalks?
    Has there not been any improvement? Or, are people becoming a tad too picky?

  8. Jeff Giannone

    I’m sure the landlords have snow removal as part of tenant responsibilities in their leases but enforcing that obligation is very difficult. These corporate retail chains would have a lot of problems if they asked their managers to physically shovel the sidewalks. They would also have a hard time contracting a professional to shovel 20′ of sidewalk. To compound the problem the street plows just keep pushing the snow onto the sidewalks.

    In many Towns the local taxes that pay for snow removal on the street also cover the sidewalk. This makes the most sense and leads to the fewest slip & fall lawsuits. In shopping centers the owner handles snow removal then charges the tenants their pro rata share of the cost. In the absence of the Town stepping up, I suggest the DMA consider a similar solution to shopping centers; hire a professional snow removal company and charge the cost back to the tenants. I am pretty sure these tenants would be happy to pay a small fee to have the snow removed timely and professionally.

  9. Arline P.Gertzoff

    Yesterday only one store hadn’t cleared the sidewalk. Judging by the picture it looks like the same culprit.I pointed this out to the store and just got a” duh”
    type response.Wouldn’t it be easier for the Westport Merchant’s Association to organize something?and charge members accordingly.The Shelter is often
    looking for jobs for people staying there.as well.

  10. Sandy Soennichsen

    Just came from donwtown; it should be declared a disaster zone. The snow at the end of the sidewalks is higher than ever, and there are a couple of places cut though where you can even walk from the road to the sidewalk without being a mountain goat. But apparently a Safety Officer miraculously appeared and surveyed the sidewalk and told the storekeepers what their responsibilities are for its removal. So we’ll see. Where its all going to go, I have no idea.