5 citations: Charlottesville Police begin enforcing citizen snow removal

news-sidewalk-omniWhere the sidewalk ends: Water Street on February 17, just past the federal courthouse.

Charlottesville Police have gotten tough on businesses and individuals who have not removed snow from public sidewalks, and issued five summons for noncompliance with the city's snow removal ordinance.

McDonald's, Wendy's, and Yellow Cab got tickets February 11, and individuals in the 1700 block of JPA and in the 700 block of Monticello were written up this week.

"We've received over 150 complaints," says Lieutenant Gary Pleasants. "The majority were warned, and most complied."

Since the December snowpocalypse, police have come under fire for not enforcing the sidewalk ordinance, which requires that residents clear walkways within 12 hours after snowfall ceases.

At the end of January, Chief Tim Longo admitted that he didn't think the ordinance seemed enforceable after the so-called December "Snowpocalypse" because of the city's failure to clear its own sidewalks.

Subsequent storms were not as voluminous, and the city's grade from Pedestrian Safety Committee member Kevin Cox was much improved, particularly in clearing curb ramps and crosswalks that can impede travel, particularly for disabled citizens.

"Police went around and issued warnings," says an impressed Cox, who calls the enforcement operation "a good idea and long overdue."

Sidewalk scofflaws face a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries up to 12 months in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine.

"Obviously, this amount of snow and frequency are unprecedented," says Pleasants. "That's why we gave such leeway. And once we gave the warning, they had 12 hours."

Police are still on snow patrol. On Wednesday, February 17, says Pleasants, they're concentrating on sidewalks around schools.

"It's a civic obligation," says Cox, "and most people meet it."


How about failure to secure load? I'm disappointed you didn't come up with that GSOE...

Folks, the notion of a "City sidewalk" does not mean that the City owns it, or that the City has to clear it. The "Prospect Avenue complex" that you refer to is, I assume, what is now known as Blue Ridge Commons. It is not owned by the City or any piece of the City. It is privately owned, and if the sidewalk there has not been cleared, it is the private landowner who is not doing it and who is liable. And Maplewood Cemetery is not City-owned, I'm pretty sure.

My problem with the "clear the sidewalks" ordinance is that, as in the case of my house, the City snowplows pile up the snow on my sidewalk to 5 feet deep, and that pile won't be gone before spring.

No way 46.2-1156 would cover snow on top of a car.

First off, you haven't "loaded" anything into or onto your car. Secondly, snow hardly qualifies as "contents" you have loaded into or onto your car.

§ 46.2-1156. Construction, maintenance and loading must prevent escape of contents; load covers; exemptions.

A. No vehicle shall be operated or moved on any highway unless it is so constructed, maintained, and loaded as to prevent its contents from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping.

And last time I looked the city's sidewalk on Lexington Avenue and vicinity by Maplewood Cemetery has not been cleared. Snow piled on it by plows. The city needs to cite itself!
"World-class city"- what a sad sack joke!

Bravo to the city! Finally! They have cleared the right turn lane from Melbourne onto Park Street.

But, IMHO, they should also have cleared the straight thru lane from Park Street onto Rio Road right beofre the bridge. It's still too narrow when a person is in the left turn lane and a large vehicle or truck tries to squeeze by them. Oh well!

Anyhow......... § 46.2-852 Reckless Driving would cover snow on the top of a car. It's kinda a catch-all when something isn't specifically spelled out in the state code.

The wording "any person who drives a vehicle on any highway....blah blah blah... or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving."

As a result of this last storm, and with temperatures remaing so low, there have been numerous reports locally of snow/ice flying off tall trucks and smacking the cars behind them.

Great! Just what this topic needs...a theologian. Thanks for offering your vast array of knowledge buddy. The fortuity of my/our rhetoric has ended now that you've cleared it all up for us. Nothing else I can add.

I'd love it if the city would stroll down Locust and check out what hasn't been shoveled in the 600, 700, and 800 blocks. As someone who walks down Locust every day -- and sees lots of other people commuting similarly -- it would be nice if we didn't have step gingerly on packed-down snow and ice and climb over the big piles of snow at every intersection.

Forget the sidewalks. The roads aren't even fully cleared yet. We would be better off having the police monitoring roads and enforcing better snow plowing than passing out tickets. The police should be out there with plows and shovels. Is this an effort to fund budget shortfalls?

Just came by Maplewood. Hollow Boy is right. The sidewalk is not shoveled. And Blue Ridge Commons is owned by the city as well, Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority to be exact.

The inmate idea is great!

How about places where city plows decided to put 6 ft of snow on someone's sidewalk?! And what's an elderly homeowner to do with 12 hours notice who now has over 1,000 cubic ft of snow to remove or face penalty? The best thing I saw last week was 8 inmates at the regional jail being supervised while clearing snow. Might as well put them to good use since they're living on the taxpayer dime, and while I don't generally care about anything regarding inmates other than making sure they're treated fairly within the penal system, you know 98% of inmates would gladly take the opportunity to work outside 6-8 hours a day.

Maplewood is city-owned. Agreed on the giant piles. Nobody could get to my cleared sidewalk if they wanted to, and part of it is obscured with fallen tree limbs.

Perhaps the city should first take another look at their own sidewalks! I noticed yesterday that the sidewalks on 5th Street S.W. have not been done yet. In particular, the sidewalks behind the Prospect Avenue complex. People have to walk out in the roadway.

The city also won't clear the roadways. Melbourne Road has a left turn lane onto Rio Road that's open. The right turn lane onto Park Street has a pile of snow about 200 feet tall.

On Park Street turning onto Melbourne Road, the left turn lane is open. The straight through lane onto Rio Road is so narrow I am surprised many cars haven't been sideswiped. Or maybe they have, I don't know.

A misdameanor 2500 dollar fine? A year in jail?

How about the same ticket a car would receive for double [parking and impeding traffic?

So you go to jail for that?

Change the law to a 25 dollar fine and write a ticket every day until it is done. Then use discreation for all of the complaints above and write hundreds of tickets INCLUDING to the city. If it is not cleaned within twn days then have the inmates clean it and bill the homeowner for the cost of icarcerating that inmate for a day.

If it is a "public side walk" (and not my private property) it is NOT my responsibility to clear it. And I wont.

Snow on sidewalks really is a public safety concern. Joggers, elderly, families with strollers, handicapped in wheelchairs, blind, and just about most pedestrians are forced to share a snow-filled and icy road with cars.

Whether you think that the city should do it, inmates should do it, or property owners should it, I think we can all agree that the city needs to make sure that it gets done, and MUCH MORE QUICKLY. Do we need to wait for pedestrian accidents before the city makes a move?

Sorry guys and girls, Bab Bab is correct. You are responsible for the sidewalk on your property. The good news is that we've probably got at least a decade or two before we have another winter close to this.

Bob Bob, you actually own the sidewalk and the public has an easement. Just like any easement, that means you can't park your truck across the sidewalk, and if your tree falls on the sidewalk you need to clear it. If snow falls on it, you need to shovel it.

Anyway, not shoveling is fine too -- we could use more inmates to shovel our walks next year :)

The City is UNFAIR!!!!!!!!! Those sidewalks are on city property, we pay taxes, too much at that. The City should clean up THEIR STUPID SIDEWALKS. In addition, will the city give a ticket to a citizen who is old, sick, or otherwise unable to clean the sidewalk? YES THEY CAN.

I'm no expert on Virginia municipal code, but I believe Virginia Code § 46.2-1156 covers it this quite well...

ââ?¬Å?No way 46.2-1156 would cover snow on top of a car.
First off, you haven’t ââ?¬Å?loaded” anything into or onto your car. Secondly, snow hardly qualifies as ââ?¬Å?contents” you have loaded into or onto your car.”

I think if you consult the Commonwealth's attorney or perhaps a judge about the interpretation of the law, you will find you are mistaken. Regardless of how the "load" came to be on your vehicle, it is still a load and you are responsible to maintain it. As was previously stated by another comment, it absolutely poses safety hazards for all that may come in the vicinity of that vehicle while it is in motion. I'm certain there are other laws regarding endangering others on the roadway as well. Ignorance is no excuse.

If od put the snow down then it is gods responsibiliy to pick it up.

Man With A Paper a-hole, I know the answer. It's not § 46.2-1156.

It's actually pretty obvious. But I think a cop would have an extremely hard time getting a conviction.

Anybody else want to take a guess?

The FACT remains it is CITY property. If I were Tiger Woods and a bunch of people were picketing me, I can only tell them to stay off my property, and because the CITY owns the sidewalk and the street too, I cannot tell them to go away unless I have a peace warrant filed on any specific person in that crowd.

It is city property, we pay taxes out the rear-end the CITY should pay to remove the snow. Even Fairfax County does not require owners to remove snow from sidewalks and they have far more sidewalks than Charlottesville. The city is soaking us and they want us to face a possible $2,500 fine.

Sure, I will clear any sidewalk which belongs to me, and if the city wants me to labor on thier sidewalk, then I will send them a bill. Maybe $2,500.

Hey you guys who are claiming that the city owns the sidewalk- what if someone were picketing your residence on that sidewalk, would you go tell them that it was your property or the cities?

Get the damn snow and ice off the sidewalk and be done with it- until then, keep your check book handy- they also take credit cards...

heck, slip down a city snow mound somewhere, on "city" property, have a lawyer with you and sue the city............


Statistically speaking, you are correct Locust Ave. Guy. However, if the "global warming" theorists are correct, then crazy weather patterns are going to be par for the course and only getting crazier. Being the all knowing prognosticator that I am, my prediction is for 8" of snow on April 28(snowfall actually beginning 10PM April 27) followed by 85Ã?Å¡ and sunny on April 29. Coincidentally, Mt. Chipotle shall cease to exist on April 27 at 12PM. So if you have your money in that pool, be prepared for the controversy to erupt.

I'll save my comments on that ridiculous "global warming" notion for another day...

CvilleBoy- guess what I was aiming at was (and you have heard it before) "be part of the solution, not part of the problem".

Our sub division road (public county road)- one way in one way out- was not plowed for 6 days following both storms. We complained to ourselves while we shoveled and tramppled it down ourselves. We shovelled each others driveways and walkways and had cars going in and out in two days.

So became part of the solution instead of part of the problem. It was a one time (oops, two time) event.

Fairfax County- taxes are a lot higher as well- I was their last week and their sidewalks are piled a lot higher than you might believe. Went to Staunton too- nowhere to run there either. Cars still covered and blocking roadways.

Good luck next time- perhaps a plan might be worth while..

How about failure of the police to find and secure suspects and prisoners...........hummmmm?

It's just common courtesy to remove the snow from the top of your vehicle. Not only can it hinder drivers around you but it can also slide down your front windshield and obstruct said automibles vision. In addition it leaves big chunks of snow/ ice in the road that scraps the bottom of other cars. Point Blank it's not safe

As for the City of Charlottesville, they have done better in 2010 with their snow removal but they only improved from and F to a C. There are still several areas as to it's nearly impossible to see around the massive mounds of snow, especially when turning. Then look at the streets ok the sidewalk may be clean but how do you access it if the entire street in front of it is still heavily piled with snow and ice. Thanks for the improvement but its still not enough.

I enjoyed seeing the inmates removing snow the other day. Can't lie I chuckled at first and took a 2nd look to make sure I was seeing correctly. Then thought it was a great idea being that our tax dollars give them 3 hots and a cot with cable, exercise equipment, educational training, medical attention, etc. It's a great way for them to give back to their community !! But don't feel They should not be paid for the work it should be done on a barter system they remove the snow and "we" the community give them a few hours of fresh air and sunshine.

Yesterday around 11Am. Huge mountain of snow completely blocking the sidewalk beside Charlottesville Wrecker on High St. To get around it necessary to step well into the street,not just on edges.
Whether it was done by the city or by whoever plowed for the wrecker company, someone should be held accountable for this hazard.
Its against the city code to put snow into the street. It should also be illegal to pile it on sidewalks and intersections, blocking passage. So many times a completely cleared walk will have a wall of snow and ice at the curb by the intersection.

Agreed; Likely difficult to convict, unless property damage is incurred. Obviously, I'm no cop and have vested little time searching for the correct title. I ALWAYS clear the snow from vehicle so it is little more than an annoyance in my life when that mass of snow and ice is approaching my vehicle at 88 fps. Either way, I still find it an entertaining debate.

Reason #7676 why people of foreign nations generally hate Americans...

Thanks for the reminder wonderer.

FWIW: If the snow and ice STAYED on your vehicle, no one would care. As the erudite nature of your comment clearly indicates, you are obviously an aeronautical engineer and fully grasp that there's no possible way for that mass of snow and ice to dislodge from your vehicle and cause problems for other drivers on the roadway. My enlightenment is nearly complete.

...Reason #7676.1 why most Americans hate Americans

Thanks again wonderer

"Reason #7676.1 why most Americans hate Americans

Thanks again wonderer"

Don't even try to troll me. But yes, your enlightenment is almost complete.

you know what i'm all about safety. due to super cop that set behide a desk all day and eat and answer phone does not count ok but those that need help or other wise cant get it done is over the top you have cities that need money and the only way is to fine people that dont have the time or the money. so the best way is to steal from the taxpayers whom play for the sorry service from any cities with the pricetag

how about

§ 46.2-1156. Construction, maintenance and loading must prevent escape of contents; load covers; exemptions.

A. No vehicle shall be operated or moved on any highway unless it is so constructed, maintained, and loaded as to prevent its contents from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping.

I'm a little POed that our layabout city council hasn't taken advantage of its power to do this:

6. Authorize the designation of certain highways, or portions thereof, as play areas for sledding and similar recreational activities.

That's from § 46.2-1302. Regulation of operation of vehicles in snow, sleet, etc.; designation of play areas; penalties.

Maybe we could petition to have Roy's Place designated a sledding area, although I think leaving Cherry Ave. or Rose Hill unplowed and open for sledding would be a lot more fun.

there once was a mayor of chicago who lost his reelection bid over his poor response to winter weather.

46.2-1003 Illegal use of defective or unsafe equipment


46.2-1111 Extension of loads beyond line of fender or body


This clearly states that if you do not like the snow on my vehicle you can kiss my arse.

quote: "ticket the people that drive around on the roadways with 12-18 inches of snow still atop their vehicle. This is a safety issue for everyone too."

What would the charge be? Can you cite a code section?

Bab Bob,
You must not be aware of where the property lines are, in most situations in C'ville, it is 6" beyond the sidewalk. This is NOT an easement street side sidewalks, curbs and gutters are all on city property. (A sidewalk from the edge of a street side sidewalk to the front door of a house is of course on the homeowner's property.) Go check the property records in the Court House and see it for yourself.

The city should have a form that the old or infirmed can fill out to request that the city have the sidewalk taken care of. If we can give free housing to people with cadillacs then we can assist those among us who need some genuine help. I would volunteer to go to those homes and help out.

I will also go to any hotties who want to bring me in afterwords and show me their thong collection.

I like the idea of the inmates contributing to the C-ville sidewalks. I also wish that our local law enforcement agencies (county, city or state) be PROACTIVE; ticket the people that drive around on the roadways with 12-18 inches of snow still atop their vehicle. This is a safety issue for everyone too.

Can I write the morons running the Cville government a ticket for not having the roads cleared. How about a ticket for VDOT for running over my mailbox, my newspaper box, the brick light column by my driveway and getting there truck stuck blocking my driveway for 12 hours and destroying my lawn.

Blue Ridge Commons is owned by Blue Ridge Commons Corp, not the city.

Oh, and agreed, the inmate idea is great.