There are three complaints I hear constantly when out talking to members of the public: potholes, the need for public transit all the way to Coeur d’Alene and how hard it is to get around by foot, or even reach bus stops, when there is snow on the ground.

While there has been a lot of research into the first two items, the third has been the most top-of-mind lately due to the change of seasons and a lot of conversation on the topic and how to change it.

City of Spokane officials thought they might have a solution and tossed around the idea of charging a fee to people who don’t clear their sidewalks. According to the Spokesman-Review though, City Council last night tabled the idea of having city crews blow or shovel snow from sidewalks at the expense (an $85 fee) of the home owner.

The proposal was part of a suite of changes to the city’s snow removal plan. The city will still ask residents to park on the odd-numbered side of the street throughout the snow season. City Councilman Breean Beggs said his colleagues hadn’t yet formally voted on a snow removal plan for this year in part because of concern over the odd-side-of-the-street requirement, which was distributed to home owners with their utility bills this month. Beggs wants wording in the plan to clearly reflect that those who don’t park on the left side of the street will not be ticketed. In some neighborhoods, such as Browne’s Addition, it isn’t possible for everyone to park on one side of the street. In those cases, there is a chance that cars could get plowed in.

Scrapping the plan to charge homeowners for snow removal means the city will go back to a complaint-based fine system this season. Code enforcement officers may issue fines if multiple warnings are given and sidewalks still aren’t cleared.

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