(C. Proxmire, Dec. 27, 2012)
It’s snowing in Ferndale! That means time for sledding and warm fuzzy sweaters. But it also means time to be responsible neighbors. Here is what you need to know when it snows.
The City of Ferndale has plenty of information on their website at http://www.ferndale-mi.com/Services/DeptofPublicWorks/EngineeringandStreets/SnowNews.htm, which states:
“Emergency Snow Removal Ordinance
City Ordinance No. 809 prohibits the parking of vehicles on city streets when a snow emergency is declared by the Director of Public Services.
- A snow emergency will be declared when four or more inches has accumulated in one hour or more.
- It will be announced radio stations: WOMC/104.3 FM, WCSX/94.7 FM, WWJ/950 AM, WXYT/1270 AM; and television channels WJBK-FOX2, WDIV-TV 4, WXYZ-TV7 and Ferndale Municipal Cable/Cable TV 53/10.
- Once a snow emergency is declared, it shall remain until your street is clear curb-to-curb, or until the Director of Public Services cancels it.
- A special parking permit may be issued by the Department of Public Services for any residential home that does not have a driveway. A maximum of two parking permits may be issued per such home. Please remove the snow emergency parking sticker when a driveway is constructed, when the permit holder moves, or when the vehicle is disposed of.
- Any person whose vehicle(s) is parked on a city street during a snow emergency may be ticketed, fined, and his/her vehicle(s) impounded.
With city streets cleared of vehicles, the city snow trucks will be able to clear streets faster, and more on-street parking will be available.
When it snows, Ferndale’s major streets – those with a high volume of traffic – are plowed first.
The Ferndale Department of Public Services uses rock salt to de-ice city streets and intersections. Rock salt is effective only when temperatures are above 10-20 degrees.
Snow Removal on Sidewalks is Required by Law
Chapters 16-3 and 16-4 of the Ferndale City Code states that the occupant of premises adjoining a public sidewalk is responsible for clearing that public sidewalk of ice and snow within 24 hours of the snowfall.
(Editor’s note – further inquiry shows that the fine for now shoveling is the cost of removal plus 10% in additional fine http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=19936)
Piling Snow is Illegal
Don’t unknowingly break the law by piling snow on roadways and shoulders as you shovel your driveway and walk!
State law prohibits businesses and citizens from dumping snow on roadways and shoulders, or piling it so high at driveway entrances that it obstructs motorists’ vision.
Keep the shoulder in front of your driveway clear, and clear snow for a short distance from the driveway in the direction of approaching traffic. That way the view of a motorist entering the roadway from a driveway is not obstructed. When clearing your driveway, push the snow away from the roadway and to the sides of the driveway to its full length. That will eliminate the problem of high snow banks blocking a driver’s view.
Businesses should make special arrangements ahead of time to remove snow from their parking lot entrances and driveways. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove snow away from private facilities. Violators leave themselves open to fines and lawsuits for public liability and property damage if snow is plowed and left on city streets.
Although school is out until Jan. 3, parents should know where to get information about future “snow days.”
~Ferndale Public Schools closing information can be found at http://www.ferndaleschools.org/parents/schoolclosing.html. According to the site “All official emergency school closings will be announced on local television channels Fox 2, WDIV-4, and WXYZ-7, and radio stations WJR-760 am, and WWJ-950 am, and on the district Fact Phone at 248/586-8651. The district will also send out a notification to all households via our School Messenger system – you will receive a phone call and email if school is cancelled.”
~Hazel Park Public Schools website says “Tune to the following stations: radio stations WWJ 950 AM, WJR 760 AM, WXYT 1270, television channels ABC, NBC, FOX 2, Hazel Park Cable Channels 15, 16, 21, and internet web sites www.hazelpark.k12.mi.us and www.clickondetroit.com.”
Earth-Friendly Ice Removal
In a previous article, the Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission gave green tips about caring for the earth in winter and spring.
“When snow melts, storm water, which is water that doesn’t soak into the ground or other porous surfaces, is carried untreated from your storm drain to nearby lakes, rivers and streams. The presence of chemicals and other pollutants like fertilizers, pesticides, and fluids from your car that are found on your yard, driveway etc. are carried in the storm water to nearby water bodies where they impact the water quality and the wildlife that depends on it.
~Make sure ALL pet waste is picked up and discarded properly and in a timely manner.
~Make sure all storm drains are cleared of leaves, trash and other matter.
~Pick-up the area around your home and make sure all debris is discarded responsibly, recycled or composted.
~Direct gutter spouts away from paved areas.
~Sweep up any extra salt that is still on your sidewalk, driveway, etc.
~Properly and cautiously clean-up and dispose of any spilled chemicals or contaminants.
~Fill a rain barrel or garbage can with snow and use the melted snow to water house plants. (You can also fill smaller containers like a bucket or watering can with snow and bring it inside for watering house plants.)
~Check your car for any fluid leaks, and make necessary repairs.
~NEVER pour anything down a storm drain. It’s illegal!
For more information please contact the Ferndale Department of Public Works or visit the Clinton River Watershed website (www.crwc.org) read about what you can do to manage storm water on your property and protect water quality all year round.
FESC Green Tips and other Environmental information can be found on the City’s website and on the FESC Facebook.”
Safe Winter Driving
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has released the following information to help drivers be safe during the winter:
“The three P’s of Safe Winter Driving:
PREPARE for the trip; PROTECT yourself; and PREVENT crashes on the road.
Maintain Your Car: Check battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers, keep your
windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your antifreeze.
Have On Hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even
blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone.
Stopped or Stalled? Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on antenna
or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and
run it just enough to stay warm.
Plan your route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if
necessary), be familiar with the maps/ directions, and let others know your route
and arrival time.
Practice Cold Weather Driving!
* During the daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot.
* Steer into a skid.
* Know what your brakes will do: stomp on antilock brakes, pump on non-antilock
* Stopping distances are longer on water-covered ice and ice.
* Don’t idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.
* Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
* Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
* Children 12 and under are much safer in the back seat.
* Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving.
* Slow down and increase distances between cars.
* Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road.
* Avoid fatigue – Get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every three hours,
and rotate drivers if possible.
* If you are planning to drink, designate a sober driver.”