Monday, 16 July 2018 22:20

Bangor considers new winter sidewalk ordinance Featured

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BANGOR - Public Works Director Dana Wardwell brought a new plan, including possible fines, for enforcing winter snow removal before the city's Infrastructure Committee on Monday.


City officials were trying to get ahead with the plans to better tackle this upcoming winter's storms (painful as it may be to think about now).


The current city sidewalk ordinance requires property owners in the downtown area to clear their own sidewalks, but officials say it hasn't been well enforced.


"If we don't have the sidewalks plowed then people are forced to walk in the road, which is a safety issue," said Wardwell.


The director has been trying to address snow piles left in front of downtown businesses by updating the winter sidewalk ordinance.


A first offense would result in a written warning. The new ordinance would then issue increasing fines for repeat offenders, going up to $400.


"We have business owners that are wonderful about clearing, and even clearing property that's not theirs," said City Councilor Clare Davitt. "And then slowly the city has slipped into clearing stuff that's not theirs."


Ultimately, city officials hope more ordinance structure will make the city sidewalks safer.


"We spend so much of our time in winter, and when people push snow up into the sidewalks people are ending up in streets, having to walk around," said Councilor Davitt. "We have an aging population...folks with disabilities."


"Sidewalks and accessibility and walkability was a huge part of my platform when I ran for council," said City Councilor Laura Supica. "You want your apartment building to be cleared so that if there's an issue and a firefighter has to get in there, they can get in there."


After a lengthy discussion,  councilors advised that the proposed plans go back to the Bangor Public Works Department for more consideration before the Bangor City Council puts it to a vote.


As for the residential area sidewalks that the city is responsible for clearing, councilors said they don't want to make changes there.


Kelly Mitchell

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Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now e...