Snow and Ice Reminders and Tips

Monday, December 12, 2016, 12:07 pm
By: 
Alice Dreger

Above: A birdfeeder gives a sense of how much it snowed since yesterday.

With the first big snow of the season, now seems like a good time to provide some reminders and tips about snow and ice management for East Lansing residents.

Clear your sidewalks; it’s the law: If you own property with a public sidewalk in East Lansing, you have a legal obligation to clear it soon; our City has a strict snow and ice removal ordinance. The relevant ordinance requires that the snow that fell overnight be cleared by midnight tomorrow from sidewalks, including from driveway sections that traverse public sidewalks.

This will become challenging as low temperatures cause walked-on and driven-on snow to turn to ice. So, clearing it sooner rather than later is best. People using public sidewalks—including people with mobility disabilities, people who can't afford injuries from falls, and those who walk to school and work—count on property owners to comply with the law.

According to the City of East Lansing, “Each day that an owner fails to maintain a sidewalk in accordance with [the snow and ice removal ordinance] constitutes a separate offense.” The City Manager can decide to post on a noncompliant property “a notice of the intent of the City to abate the condition with the costs of the abatement assessed to the property owner.” In that case, “the City may abate the condition and assess the property owner the costs if the condition is not remedied in accordance with the [stated] standards within 24 hours of the abatement notice.”

Which salt is best? Be aware that regular rock salt (sodium chloride) may be relatively ineffective later this week because low temperatures. But, as citizen-reporter Aron Sousa reported for us in ELi on Earth, calcium chloride (CaCl2) is a viable option for the temperatures this week. Aron explained that calcium chloride “works at lower temperatures, is probably easier on East Lansing roadside plants, does less damage to concrete, and does not cut the feet of pets and wild animals of East Lansing. You can get it at a number of local stores, including Meijer.”

Get to know your City snow team: As we reported last winter, the City’s snow and ice management team works to balance road safety with environmental stewardship; read more about how they deal with our roads.

Help out neighbors: The City regularly reminds residents to consider helping out neighbors with mobility disabilities with clearing walks during times of snow and ice.

What about those who live outside? Want to know how to help out local wild birds during the winter here in East Lansing? Aron also reported for us on that. Which birds have left for the season and will migrate back in the spring? ELi’s Paige Filice has you covered on that.

And finally: Do you value this reporting? If so, help us become sustainable so we can keep our news service and its archives available to you in 2017.