Royal Oak Encourages Snow Removal with Video, Contemplating Ordinance (video)

Royal Oak Encourages Snow Removal with Video, Contemplating Ordinance (video)Red Door Realty Ad _own_your_dream

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 25, 2015)

The City of Royal Oak has made a public service announcement encouraging residents and business owners to shovel the snow and ice from their sidewalks. However, there is no ordinance requiring them to do so.

The video shows a first-person view of what it’s like to use a walker in the snow. Though even without a walker, navigating the snow piles, ice sheets, and random pockets of snow are a challenge.

Detroit_GT_05At the Feb. 16, City Commission meeting the issue was raised both in public comment and by Commissioner Sharlan Douglas, who called for a staff report on methods for solving the problem.

“We have a master plan that talks about complete streets and the importance of walkability in our town, and we are a city that is known for its walkability. I just don’t think we should only be walkable nine months of the year,” Douglas said.

“I’ve been told in the past that their liability issues, legal issues, money issues, practical issues. And I acknowledged that may be true. But I see other cities successfully requiring snow removal on their sidewalks, and i’d just like to see us not shut the door on this, and to understand better what those barriers are. Maybe look for solutions.”

Commissioner Kyle DuBac agreed that “it’s important that we have this conversation.” However he questioned whether an ordinance would be a burden for seniors and people with disabilities chazzano game adwho would have to contract for snow removal, and if people would see it as a “city money grab.” He asked that staff look for ways to increase snow shoveling that would not require them to police the whole city, or create situations where neighbors have to report each other.

Commissioner David Poulton encouraged the city to do more public awareness, and in particular to note the areas at sidewalk ends where snow gets piled up by plows.

Mayor Jim Ellison noted that in Downtown Royal Oak, the DDA pays the City to do the removal. He also suggested that as the City considers making 11 Mile Road a TIF District, there may be CFSEM-123-OaklandCounty115-digital-ad_v2some potential for funding for snow removal along that street.

Royal Oak resident Amanda Klein rides the SMART bus 730 route which runs along 11 Mile to get to her job in Southfield. She urged the City to consider a remedy for the un-shoveled walkways, which she considers a public safety hazard. She told of a man in Southfield who had been struck while in the street with his wheelchair because sidewalks weren’t clear, and said she hoped nothing like that would happen in Royal Oak.

“We’re lucky to have a transit system. I meet people every day that are coming into Royal Oak businesses, our restaurants, our banks, and I just think that we should be showing them kind of respect that we want to show everybody that comes to our city,” Klein said.

City staff has begun working on a report exploring options, but Poulton noted that it would not come back before the Commission until at least spring. In the meantime, City officials hope the video, and community dialogue, will encourage people to do the right thing whether there is an ordinance in place or not.

For more Royal Oak news visit http://oaklandcounty115.com/category/royal-oak/.

For official City information see the City of Royal Oak website at http://www.ci.royal-oak.mi.us.

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