According to the National Weather Service snowfall map, only about 3 inches of snow fell on Bloomington, Indiana, from Tuesday night at 7 p.m. through 7 a.m. on Thursday.
It was a gloppy, wet snow that came with the above-freezing temperature of around 34 F on Wednesday morning.
But the overnight temperature from Thursday to Friday dipped to 15 F. That meant any of the uncleared slushy mix on sidewalks became a frozen bumpy mess.
That prompted a request on the city’s uReport system on Friday morning: “Please enforce the city’s ordinance requiring property owners to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours. The frozen slush today is worse than the snow was days ago. Thank you.”
The city of Bloomington’s local law says that property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks next to their land.
The fine for noncompliance is graduated: $50 (first offense), $100 (second offense), and $150 (third offense).
Based on a B Square Friday morning walk in the general vicinity of downtown, most of the sidewalks were clear. Still, many were caked with ice.
But on Friday morning, the city’s housing and neighborhood and development (HAND) department, which enforces the ordinance, wasn’t writing many tickets, according to HAND director John Zody.
That’s because the time frame spelled out in the ordinance for required clearing or snow and ice is “within twenty-four hours after snow or ice has ceased to fall or in any way accumulate.”
Responding to an emailed question from The B Square, Zody wrote, “With the intermittent precipitation this week, code enforcement was unusual, notably with snowfall occurring last night [Thursday, Jan. 26] around 6 p.m. That would give residents until around 6 p.m. tonight [Friday, Jan. 27] to have sidewalks cleared.”
That squares up with the staff’s note on the uReport request says, “If you see someone has not cleared their sidewalk per the ordinance (24 hours after the last snowflake falls per the official statement from Indianapolis Airport), you can submit a uReport and cite a specific area on the uReport to HAND.”
Zody indicated that by Monday he’d know the exact number of citations that had been made, but said “not many have been written, nor have many uReports come into our department about it.”
The B Square counted 13 uReports complaining about uncleared sidewalks.
Zody’s emailed message said that the forecasted warmer temperatures and rain for the weekend would likely clear off the sidewalks. But he indicated that the colder temperatures forecasted for next week meant the HAND department would be monitoring conditions.
The National Weather Service forecast for Bloomington on Saturday is for a high near 50 F degrees with showers after midnight and a low of 42 F. On Sunday, showers are again likely before 1 p.m. with the expected high temperature of around 46 by noon.
According to the NWS forecast, Monday will give a chance of snow showers and freezing rain before 8 a.m., with a high near 33 F.