So about that Snow…

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quizbot
Participant
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1hr to get from the strip to s’liberty starting at 6:30 pm tonight on road bike slicks. Managed to climb Liberty Ave to Bloomfield, then walked the rest of the way. Cleats, brakes, everything iced up. A bit sketchy out there.


stefb
Participant
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You are a badass. I nearly rode in today, thinking the snow ws supposed to hit overnight (after 10pm). I barely made it up liberty in my little Honda fit.


boostuv
Participant
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Ugh, I was gonna go do some laps out at the Highland Park track tomorrow morning before work. Looks like that idea is canned.


cburch
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Tomorrow is a good day for a mtb or skis.


quizbot
Participant
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@stefb… I did feel pretty badassed when I wasn’t walking :)


dwillen
Participant
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My bus got stuck on Blvd of the Allies after stopping at an uphill stoplight.. Stuck stuck. He asked people to move to the back so he could have more traction. I am glad I didn’t ride home. Pretty sure studs wouldn’t have been any help anyway.


sloaps
Participant
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the city pulled another car back onto brosville.

Slippy Slopes

I’d like to bike today, but noblestown and poplar aren’t plowed well enough in some areas to “share the road” and the sidewalks are narrow and treacherous after the first refreeze. and some of the fast food joints like to plow their snow onto the sidewalk. classy.


Erica
Participant
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anyone know if the main roads downtown/surrounding are really icy?

Definitely salting my stairs before carrying my bike down them this time, regardless.


WillB
Participant
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I rode in on Penn and a lot of it is that sort of packed down snow with a bit of slush to it. I was very slippery to walk on, but my mildly knobby tires did okay. Once you’re downtown, it gets a little rougher because the ice/slush starts to break up and the surface gets really bumpy.


Pierce
Participant
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My rear MTB tire blew out a couple of days ago, so I had a slick on…

Had to walk up one hill in West Mifflin. The power was out around the West Mifflin PAT garage and the county airport.

Was called a “dumbass” followed 20 seconds later by “asshole” from opposing traffic.

The electric guys in cherry pickers were cooler though “There’s a guy on a bike!” one of they said in a bemused voice.

Not bad once I hit second ave


superletour
Participant
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Good times today. Put studded tires on my new cyclocross bike for the first time…

but I also broke my streak of no falls at all this winter. Turning into the rite-aid parking lot in wilkinsburg while downshifting, my rear wheel washed out, and just when I went to put that extra power into the pedals I realized the RD hadn’t fully shifted yet… so I fell on my butt at a near complete stop. Must’ve been goofy looking.


stripedpants
Participant
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Hats off to the person in bright yellow who rode by my bus stop on freeport this morning. He or she made it look effortless, while motorists were sliding about. very inspiring, and shoots holes through my “reasons” for putting off commuting by 2 wheels till spring.


Lyle
Participant
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some of the fast food joints like to plow their snow onto the sidewalk. classy.

We need to start complaining to the city about stuff like this. If you are paying someone to clear your property, you can pay them the extra fraction to do it legally.


Kordite
Participant
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The city law is that they have 24 hours after it stops snowing to clear the sidewalk. The procedure is that they won’t take action unless there’s a complaint so, after 24 hours, call 311. They will dispatch someone to look at the situation and they will issue a warning. The clock starts from then and if they don’t clear the sidewalk 24 hours after that and citation will be issued. I believe the fine is $25.

So, with all that it will probably take 3 days start to finish.

And before you disparage the $25 fine as being too low, I heard from a city councilman that if the fine were higher then the city employee would be less likely to actually issue the fine. Better to have it low than to never have a fine accessed at all.


Pierce
Participant
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Eh, it probably cost $25 just to receive the complaint and send the person out to look at the sidewalk. But I guess it encourages people to plow faster.

I shoveled last night, but then the city plowed the snow back on the sidewalk.


Ahlir
Participant
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There’s the fine and then there’s the costs, so the actual price would be higher.

I’ve heard that it’s all well and good if you report a neighbor for not shoveling, but the inspector will check the whole block and may issue additional tickets. You might want to weigh reporting against maintaining peaceful neighbor relations. (That said, I believe that businesses have the responsibility to not mess up public spaces, and should be tagged.)


Lyle
Participant
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So, with all that it will probably take 3 days start to finish.

Still, I’ve seen plenty of sidewalks that don’t get cleared for weeks. But sit at a parking meter for 5 minutes past its expiration and you can get a $30 ticket. The law does not require a 24 warning period — that’s just the enforcement wing deciding that this is a law they don’t care much about.

Some other cities have a program that works like this:

you have N hours to clear your walk after a snowstorm. If it’s not cleared, a city subcontractor will clear it for you and send you the bill (something like $40 + $1/ft). People bid for the city contract, much like tow companies do. Unemployed adults and teens go door to door offering to undercut the city. People get work, and the sidewalks get cleared.

When did it officially stop snowing? I’ll set a timer…


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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“(That said, I believe that businesses have the responsibility to not mess up public spaces, and should be tagged.)”

In most municipalities, the sidewalks are part of the public right-of-way, and therefore property of the municipality, aka Public Property. However, snow removal and maintenance are the responsibility of the property owner, whether it is a residence, apartment or business. Kind of a gotcha set-up, but that’s usually how it goes.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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“The law does not require a 24 warning period”

Not always true. This may vary by municipality, but in many, the clock doesn’t start ticking for 24 hours. Snow removal ordinances are intended to encourage property owners to do what they should do anyway. The 24 hour “grace period” is, I think, a reasonable interval for owners to react to the snow and shovel. Consider a storm like last night – caught a lot of people by surprise. Homeowner wakes up this morning, has to get to work, but doesn’t have time to shovel. Goes to work today, comes home, shovels after dinner.

And I’m not sure the parking meter violation is a reasonable comparison. Parking meters generally are located in business districts, and are intended to keep people from just stashing their car in a convenient place, preventing business patrons from parking there to shop, etc.. So the meter is intended to keep the cars coming and going, and so the enforcement necessarily should be more timely.


Mick
Participant
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@quizbot Managed to climb Liberty Ave to Bloomfield, then walked the rest of the way.

Thanks for this report.

If you hadn’t written I would have ridden home last night -and it would have been in no way safe.


Lyle
Participant
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ALMKLM: The 24-hour warning period I was referring to is the one that starts 24 hours after the snow stops. Kordite said that 24 hours after the snow stops (when a violation has technically already occurred) a warning will be issued with 24 hours given for compliance. It’s that latter 24-hour grace that I don’t believe is written into the law. Nor the announced policy that “we won’t bother to enforce this unless someone really wants to risk pissing off their neighbors by complaining” (as opposed to pissing off their neighbors by not shoveling).


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Lyle: Law as written vs. Law as enforced are almost always two different things, I think we agree on that.


StuInMcCandless
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The 03:51 report from the National Weather Service is the last one to observe falling snow, so add an hour for good measure, so say 05:00 2/22/2011 to start the timer.


Steven
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In most municipalities, the sidewalks are part of the public right-of-way, and therefore property of the municipality, aka Public Property.

As I understand it, sidewalks being part of the public right-of-way doesn’t make them the property of the municipality. Sidewalks are still the property of the individual landowner. He’s obliged to grant access to everyone on that part of his property and to keep it clear, but that’s a different thing from not owning it.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Steven: Municipal rights of way generally include the area from sidewalk to sidewalk – including the sidewalks themselves. Although owned by the municipality, they are the responsibility of the landowner. The “right of way” is granted by the municipality, as differentiated from private property – like a yard you could put a fence around.

Example: if you own a cafe and want outdoor seating, but your building abuts the sidewalk, you do not have the right to simply put tables out. You need either a permit or license agreement with the municipality because you are using the public “right of way” for private purposes.


Erica
Participant
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tried to ride down liberty, slid and fell, walked to mancini’s in the strip and caught a ride to market square. bussed home because I’m a wimp, haha.

Mad props to the two people who passed me on bikes as I was walking, (one on a mountain bike, one on smooth road bike tires). Rule #9, I believe.


Steven
Participant
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Thanks for the correction, ALMKLM!


chinston
Participant
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Speaking of snow, what are the jail trail and junction hollow like today?


cdavey
Participant
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@ALMKLM and Steven — I’ll put on my attorney’s hat here .

In PA if the street is opened, public or private, the landowner normally owns to the center of the street unless his deed says otherwise (such as if his deed says he owns only to the edge of the right-of-way). If the street is unopened, he normally owns just to the edge of the right-of-way. But as soon as the street is opened, his ownership then automatically by law extends to the center of the street.

However, in the case of the opened street even though the landowner may own to the middle of it, the public right-of-way gives the public a superior right to use the right-of-way space for passage. The landowner can still make his own use of the public right-of-way space so long as it doesn’t unreasonably interfere with the public’s superior right to use the same space for passage.

Hence it becomes the landowners responsibility to keep the sidewalk clean for the public’s benefit as he owns the land where the sidewalk sits. But in your example of the outdoor tables, since this could interefere unreasonably with the public’s superior right of passage, he needs to get the municipality’s OK to do it.

Off the top of my head, I think the reason the landowner has the responsilibity to do the sidewalk for the benefit of the public, but the municpality has the responsibility for the half of the street to its center that the landowner owns is simply administrative convenience.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Thanks cdavey, and apologies, Steven.

It sounds like we were each kinda right: in my case the position as I understand it is the defacto “ownership”, or as cdavey describes it, as the “public’s superior right of passage.”

The times i’ve encountered this have each been confusing, but your description is about as clear as i’ve heard.


Steven
Participant
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Thanks cdavey and ALMKLM. Great explanation.

We now return you to your regular snow discussion.


Erica
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the roads were surprisingly clear today, even the bike lanes aren’t that bad! Whether it was the city or the warmth melting all the snow, I’m glad it happened!


gimpPAC
Participant
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sooo, about the snow in Panther Hollow? I’m about ready to attempt a trip back to the East End and wondering if I should probably expect a nice long climb up Greenfield instead?


dwillen
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You should climb Greenfield anyway, because hills are good for you.


edmonds59
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I don’t know, but I left work AND it’s still light. Wooyah! I feel like a newborn mushroom.


stefb
Participant
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Panther hollow is clear. I was just there. Jail trail not so much. It is passable but I slid around a lot on my slicks until i just went into the snow that hadn’t been ridden through yet.


gimpPAC
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haha edmonds59

dwillen, I haven’t ridden in 3+ weeks, I think I need to work my way back up to that. :P

Thanks Stef!


brian j
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Have you tried going back through Oakland, whence you came? I’ve been going across the Birmingham Bridge, then cruising up the sidewalk on Fifth, then cutting down to Forbes at Craft. The sidewalk is a little crusty at the moment, but I suspect it’ll be clear by the end of the day.


Pseudacris
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@dwillen and @gimp: do you take the sidewalk or shoulder when climbing Greenfield? I usually only go down it but am feeling “up” to adding to my repertoire of climbs. I can’t recall if there is a sidewalk, but the shoulder appears narrower on the uphill(outbound) side.


chinston
Participant
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I always take the road going up Greenfield, though I have seen people on the sidewalk, too. That said, I usually avoid Greenfield on weekdays or around rush hour. My personal cutoff time used to be 6 pm or so (i.e., traffic seemed calmer after that point), but it seems like in the last few years, more commuters have been coming down Second Ave and up Greenfield to shortcut the Parkway. There’s a woman in my downtown office who has told me she does this, for example.

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