Get Your Shabby Plastic Chairs Out of the Street

That parking spot doesn’t belong to you.

Last week, I wondered if the citizens of Philadelphia could stop being assholes by trying to embrace just a little bit of basic human kindness. I listed several simple things we could do to make the city just a little nicer: Don’t pee anywhere besides the bathroom. Use a trashcan. Don’t block the box. One thing I didn’t mention was Philadelphia snow etiquette—something this city lacks even more than self-confidence. Here’s three things we can do to work against our mayor’s characterization of us.

1. Shovel. City law dictates that residents begin clearing snow “within six hours of the end of a snowfall or freezing rain. You must clear a path at least 36 inches wide on your sidewalk including the curb cuts. Do not shovel or sweep the snow into the street.”  36 inches? Curb cuts? Tell that to the asshat who owns the hair salon at my bus stop. Each snow fall, the business owner shovels a skinny path—certainly less than 36 inches—to the shop’s door. Last year, I saw no less than six commuters tumble due to his lack of diligence. He’s not alone. Dozens of residents and business owners refuse to shovel appropriately, making it inconvenient and dangerous for city walkers. This year, I’ll be Tweeting at Michael Nutter and 311 and I hope you do the same for chronic lazybones in your neighborhood.

2. Get over your parking spot. Congratulations, Cranky Neighbor, you shoveled out a parking space on a public street so that you could go to work or the store or whatever it is you do when you’re not annoying me with your loud music and sobbing baby. I appreciate that you’re taking the first steps to getting things back to normal, so I really hate to break this news to you. You don’t own that space. Just like I don’t own the spot I shoveled out. And the polite, quiet lady down the street doesn’t own her’s. If you want a private space, move somewhere with a garage or a driveway. Until then, get your shabby plastic chairs out of the street or I will run over them. (And if you live in Darby, you’ll get fined.)

3. Show a little courtesy, SEPTA bus drivers. If you notice that a large walkway has been cleared, please pull your bus over to that spot instead of three feet away. I know driving through Philly’s tiny streets during the winter months can be tricky and I promise not to complain about your necessary detours, but if I have to climb over—and potentially sink into—a three-foot mound of snow just to board the bus, it makes it really hard to keep my New Year’s resolution to stop bitching about you.

What other Philadelphia snow etiquette tips exist?