The community's role during winter weather

The community's role during winter weather

YAKIMA, Wash. - City crews hit the streets this week, plowing snow and de-icing roadways, but the city wants to make sure you do your part.

People are responsible for clearing public right of ways on their property, such as sidewalks and parking lots.

If you don't clear these areas you can face a $50 fine for every day it's not cleared.

Yakima Code Administration Manager Joe Caruso said home and buisness owners have 24 hours to clear their sidewalks.

"If it's continuously snowing, we know you're not going to go out there the next day while it's still snowing," he said. "But you have to try and make some kind of traction if we're getting a large accumulation."

Caruso said if people can't shovel their sidewalks, they should pour something for traction such as gravel or sand but should avoid using salt because it can break down cement.

He said it's important to make sure sidewalks are safe for public use such as kids walking to school so they can stay out of the streets.

"If someone falls on your property and gets hurt, you can be civilly sued," Caruso said. "That's a good incentive for a homeowner to clean their sidewalks."

However, the city wants you to remember that when you are clearing your sidewalks it is illegal to throw that snow into the street, that will result in another $50 fine.

Yakima's Communications and Public Affairs Director Randy Beehler said it's also important to keep roads cleared of your cars.

He said the city sends out snow alerts to ask drivers to move their cars off main roads for plowing. If vehicles are not moved, they will be ticketed and towed.

He said they need the roads clear to work to clean the city as quickly as possible.

"Making sure there's access to hospitals, schools, police station, fire stations and arterials, that's our first hit," Beehler said. "Then we start to spread out after that and address residential areas, that is further down on the priority list."

The city also said if you're a homeowner with a fire hydrant in your front yard that you should dig it out of the snow so firefighters can find it.

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