Street activities hindering crews

Posted: Friday, July 29, 2005

Soldotna residents are being told that paved streets are not meant to be play areas.

Saying he recently found several portable basketball hoops and a skateboard ramp on city streets, City Manager Tom Boedeker told the city council Wednesday evening he is sending a letter to residents asking them to remove sports equipment, reminding them to not park on city streets or rights of way and asking them to keep brick and stone garden borders away from street edges.

“I found nine basketball hoops overhanging the roads or actually in the roads,” Boedeker said. “And I only drove half the streets.”

In his letter, Boedeker is telling residents, “There is a serious safety issue with children and young adults playing in the street.”

He also said the overhanging hoops cause city workers driving street sweeping equipment to swerve to avoid them, and said several hoops were left following summer last year and froze in place.

Because road grader operators plowing snow could not see the bases of the basketball hoops, some were damaged during snow removal.

Boedeker told council members that although he appreciates the beauty of people's gardens, when they border them with keystone blocks, they set up an extreme hazard for snowblowers.

“One of the snowblowers hit a keystone last year, and it came out of there at 60 miles an hour,” he said.

Not only did the stone cause extensive costly damage to the snow-blowing equipment, the repair meant the snowblower was inoperable for two days, he said.

Another problem challenging snow removal workers is vehicles parked on streets and rights of way, according to Boedeker's letter.

Cars, pickups, boats, trailers and recreational vehicles may not be parked on most streets and rights of way within the city, and because parking on the rights of way does not hamper maintenance work during summer, such parking prohibitions are not enforced.

In winter, however, they are.

Snow often is plowed onto rights of way and then collected in trucks.

“Parked vehicles severely interfere with this work,” Boedeker's letter states.

The letter will be mailed to residents along with utility bills, and at the recommendation of the city council, also will be mailed directly to residents who may not be the utility-paying owner of the residence.

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