Burke: FoCo, extend snow shoveling fines or focus on bus stops

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Collegian | Trin Bonner

Callum Burke, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board. 

Snow is an integral part of the Colorado winter lifestyle, and Fort Collins is no exception.

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On average, Fort Collins receives around 48 inches of snowfall annually, and with that come a lot of fun prospects involving the powdery fluff blinding you from your kitchen window.

Upon a substantial snowfall around the Colorado State University campus, locals are sure to unwind with a cup of hot cocoa in hand, nestled under a warm blanket without a care in the world as snow accumulates. Who knows, you may even catch a glimpse of some daredevils skiing behind a truck on the streets. 

Snow days are a great surprise, too. Receiving that rare announcement email at the crack of dawn every single time — a CSU staple — who doesn’t love a snow day? 

Every snowfall, CSU neighborhood residents have to trek into the cold and are expected to shovel their driveways and sidewalks through the harshest of elements — even those unlucky folks with corner houses doing double the work. Those poor troopers have it rough. 

Now, although shoveling your sidewalk is the courteous and neighborly thing to do, it is a task that requires much time for preparation — time that the city does not give you. 

Shoveling, as most know, is an art form involving a lot of applied skills. Technique, strategy, mental preparation, getting dressed and sometimes in-depth music playlist selection are just a few examples. Nevertheless, this beautiful process can involve hours, even days, of building up enough courage to get after it.

The City of Fort Collins states that sidewalks must be cleared within 24 hours of accumulation, or snow removal contractors will come and do the job at the homeowner’s expense.  

Luckily, each house in Fort Collins receives one warning per season, which is a small win. But residents near the University of Colorado Boulder are relieved of fines altogether, proving it is possible to figure out without a steep payment from students.

In fact, the Fort Collins city fee is $53 plus whatever the contractors charge every time a sidewalk is not shoveled within 24 hours. These charges can add up to as high as $100 on average.

“Fort Collins needs to focus on snow removal at bus stops and lay off the poor students with their neighborhood sidewalk shoveling gig.”

It is certainly not a bad circumstance that snow removal crews are so responsive and active throughout the neighborhoods when it snows, but when the bus stops remain snow-covered after students already did their part, it becomes disheartening.

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Sure, snow builds up on curbs from busy streets being plowed, but that means snow crews should be more focused on that aspect of the job.

It is a grim sight to behold when you begin a walk to the bus stop on dry, shoveled sidewalks in the neighborhoods and suddenly meet endless mounds of ice and snow standing between you and your ride to class.

No one should walk to the bus stop expecting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Fort Collins needs to focus on snow removal at bus stops or at the very least lay off the poor students with their neighborhood sidewalk shoveling gig.

There is no problem charging students who constantly refuse to shovel their property, but allow more than 24 hours before barging in and doing it for them. The students will get it done.  

Reach Callum Burke at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @burkec0621.