Amherst tweaks snow removal policies
Town to clear sidewalks in front of downtown businesses
AMHERST — With the first major snowstorm possibly on the horizon, Amherst has made a few tweaks to its snow removal policies.
Upon the request of the Downtown Amherst Business Advisory Committee, the town is going to clear a path in front of businesses after snowstorms.
“The current snow removal bylaw requires all owners of properties along most streets in the downtown to completely remove all snow and ice from the sidewalk and gutter in front of their business,” Deputy Mayor George Baker told Monday’s November council session. “The intent of this bylaw is to ensure a high level of sidewalk snow clearing for pedestrian activity in the downtown.”
Baker said the issue was discussed during a meeting earlier this month with the downtown business group and the decision was made to have town crews clear a 42inch patch along the sidewalk and have the bylaw require the owners to maintain the sidewalk surface keeping it free of ice and snow.
Snow removal in the downtown has been a touchy subject among business owners, especially after major snowfalls. Business owners faced sanction from the town if they failed to clear a path after a storm.
The town is also merging a number of old snow-related policies into a new snow and ice management policy. Most of the policies are remaining in effect, but there have been some minor changes including snow to be removed from certain boulevards within 48 hours of a snowfall of 10 centimetres or more. The old policy was to have snow moved by 10 p.m. the night of a storm. The lists of streets was also changed. The bare pavement requirement now expects that goal to be reached within 12 hours of a snow event, while snow plowing during major storms has been adjusted to remove the requirement that all residents be within a block of a plowed street and added Acadia and Prince Arthur streets to the priority list due to the present location of the police department.
It also changed one of the emergency parking lots, where people can leave vehicles during a storm, from the Blanch parking lot on Prince Arthur Street to behind the Dominion Public Building.
It also addresses priorities and service levels for snow clearing.
“The objective is that all streets will be cleaned of snow within six hours from the end of a snowstorm of up to 30 centimetres,” Baker said.
Council also put its winter parking ban into effect, with only Coun. Robert Bird voting against the measure.
Until April 15, vehicles are prohibited from being parked on town streets between midnight and 7 a.m. regardless of weather conditions.
Bird said he preferred if a common sense approach were adopted like in other municipalities, but Coun. Terry Rhindress disagreed saying snow may fall in the middle of the night.