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Watch where you blow that snow

Rochester city code prohibits depositing snow on city streets.

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Is there a law in Rochester that says it is illegal to blow snow from a driveway onto a city street?  By the way, I love your column. — Blown away on city streets

It’s always good to get a question from someone with such great taste.

It indeed is a violation of city code to remove snow from driveways or sidewalks and put it into city streets. The code states the best place for it is the boulevard between the sidewalk and street.

However, much like related snow blower noise violations during early mornings and late nights, some flexibility is needed.

We live in an area that can get extreme amounts of snow at all hours of the day, so there must be wiggle room and understanding among neighbors and the city.


I suspect if the city attempted to cite every operator of a snow blower that sent a spray of snow into the street or operated at an inconvenient time, we would need to hire a host of temporary workers just to crisscross the city after a snowfall.

After all, anyone who has used a snowblower knows it can be difficult to fully control where the snow ends up, especially if winter winds are blowing.

Sometimes, the best we can ask of our neighbors is to be considerate by trying to keep the snow off the streets and taking care to stop the spray when vehicles are passing.

The same goes for when the noisy devices are operated.

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Ideally, we’d all be able to wait until our neighbors have had their first cup of coffee before cranking up the machines, but many people work odd hours and realize how important it is for others to have clear sidewalks on their way to work, so late night and early morning removal is going to happen.

In either case, enforcement by the city is a challenge, since evidence is required for action, and that typically means having a staff member witness the violation.

Unlike cases where snow plows push piles of snow from parking lots onto city streets, the snow from a typical blower is evenly distributed, making it difficult to determine what was deposited by a potential violator and what was left by Mother Nature.

Of course, if we could get Mother Nature to abide by city code, we wouldn’t need to have these discussions.


But even I’m not knowledgeable enough to know how to make that happen.

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