Sunday, November 11, 2012

Complete street?

photo of a gravel road in the country
© harrington
This is what the road in front of my house looked like a few short months ago. Today, the branches are bare (except for some stubborn oaks), the ground is covered with fallen leaves, the dusty road is muddy and slick in spots.  Soon, the township will be sending the snow plow, but only when we get more than 3 inches of snow in one snowfall. Township roads are supposedly 4 rods wide, that's 66 feet in more modern terms, except when they aren't. A full 66 foot width might put my neighbor's fence withing the roadway although the township doesn't maintain all the way to the fence by mowing. However, about a mile south of here, the maintained right-of-way isn't much wider than the roadway, with trees encroaching up to the undersized ditches/shoulders. I suspect this arrangement sometimes creates a challenge for the township snow plow driver(s). According to a white paper I recently found on-line, after some idiot ran down the political signs on our property and the local sheriff's deputy informed me that such signs aren't supposed to be placed within the roadway (although I'm still responsible for paying property taxes on it), "While the statutes provide various methods for adopting, dedicating and recording town roads, there is no uniform width to town roads." From a practical perspective, I suppose this means that in My Minnesota, complete streets in a township may have to start with determining what is a complete street width.