In Summit Hill, police officers recently gave tickets to people who didn't move their vehicles for snow plowing.
Members of borough council said the police might be confused on the regulations for snow removal, and they attempted to clarify these rules.
The problem is, what the council members said isn't the same is what is posted on utility poles around the town.
So, if there is that much confusion among officials and enforcers, how can the residents be expected to know the rules? In fact, how can borough workers who do the plowing even know what the regulations are?
The council said plowing rules take effect the day following a snowstorm. So in essence, if snow stops falling at 2 a.m., the rules wouldn't take effect until at least 22 hours later. And, the signs read that parking is prohibited between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. so it might be 30 hours before curb-to-curb plowing can occur (2 a.m. on day one until 8 a.m. on day two).
That interval is much too long.
By then, the snow could freeze meaning there's a higher risk of damage to plows and trucks. It also prolongs the danger to pedestrians, not to mention that fire apparatus could have a difficult time navigating many streets in the borough and the streets would remain unsafe for school buses.
The borough work crew did an awesome job handling the past few storms, especially with curb-to-curb plowing. Despite this, many streets still are reduced to one-lane of travel because of the snow piles.
Some council members feel there has to be a meeting scheduled to discuss the parking rules in the town. The cold truth is that the ordinance needs major revision.
If the borough comes up with a plowing plan, then residents should have to adhere to parking regulations. This means moving vehicles so plowing can occur.
It might be an inconvenience to some residents, but this is better than frustrating and even endangering the majority.
Council members said they've advised the borough crew that if even one car is parked on a block slated for curb-to-curb plowing, such plowing will not occur. In other words, the street could remain a mess and unsafe because of one individual.
This doesn't sound fair to the rest of the taxpayers on the block. This is where the proper rules must be in place to allow the police to ticket, and possibly tow, the unmoved vehicles.
We realize the council is trying to be as accommodating as possible to the residents of the borough. It's more accommodating to have stringent rules in effect for plowing than to have such vague regulations that nobody understands them.
Meanwhile, the council is looking into the possibility of coming up with an ordinance that mandates pavements be shoveled within a specified time period after a storm.
If that specified time period is a 24-hour period, people could find themselves shoveling snow, then having plows push the snow onto the sidewalks a day later. This just doesn't make sense.
The snow ordinance in Summit Hill must be clarified.
There are probably other communities which also are experiencing similar problems.
Unfortunately, the respective councils wait until the following year to take action, but by then the snow arrives and it's too late to change the rules.
By Ron Gower