Public Works demands snow removal for Campustown

By Amanda Liberatore

As the harsh winter weather gets worse each day, students have been finding it harder to walk to class each morning, especially when the sidewalks are completely covered with snow and ice.

However, on Wednesday, the Champaign Public Works Department sent out a news release saying the sidewalk snow and ice removal requirements in the downtown and Campustown areas are in effect.

“Due to the winter storm, snow has accumulated to two inches or more on sidewalks,” said Dennis Schmidt, director of Public Works for the city of Champaign. “In order to make the sidewalks safe for pedestrians, city ordinance requires sidewalks to be cleared 48 hours after the Public Works Director’s declaration.”

Sidewalks that are not cleared within this time period could be cleared by the city at the owner’s expense, according to the news release.

As far as the University district is concerned, sidewalk snow removal will take place within the boundaries of University Avenue, First Street, Wright Street, Windsor Road, Neil Street and Springfield Avenue.

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    For the Downtown Business district, removal will be bounded by Columbia Street on the north, State Street on the west, Springfield Avenue on the south and Second Street on the east.

    The sidewalk clearing will especially be beneficial to students, according to Public Works. When the department proposed this to the city, they said that it would provide a greater sensitivity to pedestrian safety in the most congested areas of the city, especially Campustown.

    “Lately, walking to class has been kind of dangerous because I slip from the ice and snow,” said Casey Merchant, freshman in ACES. “I can usually take the bus, but sometimes those are so crowded and walking is the only option.”

    Stacy Rachel, administrative services supervisor for Champaign, said that the safety of the pedestrians is the prime concern. This is why the ordinance gives property owners 48 hours after Schmidt’s declaration to remove the snow from their sidewalks.

    Merchant expressed his approval for the city’s implemented ordinance.

    “Walking will be so much easier once this ordinance is fully implemented and the sidewalks are clear,” Merchant said.