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Illustration by Luca Di Bartolomeo

How to Avoid Being “That Guy” When Shoveling Snow This Winter

We identified four common snow removal mistakes and outlined ways for you to avoid them.

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It’s easy to love thy neighbor during the summer, when backyard barbecues and block parties bring everyone together. Then winter comes and relationships turn as cold as the snow Marv keeps piling in front of your driveway. Don’t let your neighbors’ misdeeds provoke your dark side. To help calm community tensions, we identified four mis-behavioral types associated with snow removal—and outlined ways to help them become better neighbors.

The Amateur Weatherman

When a storm hits, the accountant across the street starts thinking he’s Mike Nelson: Don’t worry about the snow on my sidewalk, he tells you. It’ll all be melted by this afternoon.

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Help a neighbor out: Remind him he could get a $150 ticket from Denver Community Planning and Development. (Residences have 24 hours to clear sidewalks, while businesses have four.) Then mention SnoHub—the Uber of shoveling—which can send a contractor within two hours for an average cost of around $39.

The Traffic Jammer

The person pushing all of the snow off her sidewalk into the just-cleared roadway may think she’s found a clever solution for ridding her driveway of snow. Just one problem: It’s illegal because it hinders accessibility and causes drainage problems. Not to mention that it’s lazy.

Help a neighbor out: Point out to the burgeoning snow savant that making piles on her lawn or driveway won’t block traffic—and she’ll gain a personal sledding hill.

The (Overly) Salty Scatterer

The seemingly magic melting capabilities of pavement salt always inspire people to pour whole bags of the stuff over their walkways. But too many of the tiny rocks can make footpaths just as slippery as ice, forcing pedestrians to shuffle across like dizzy nine-month-olds learning to walk. It can also erode pavement and pollute water sources.

Help a neighbor out: Preach the wonders of a low-sodium diet. A 12-ounce coffee mug of salt is enough to de-ice a 20-foot driveway.

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The Human Alarm Clock

Typically, nothing louder than 50 decibels (the hum of electrical transformers) is allowed in Denver’s residential areas from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. But for 24 hours after a snow storm, that rule doesn’t apply—giving this eager beaver legal protection to fire up a gas-powered snowblower and impinge on your sleep.

Help a neighbor out: Neighbors who want to be invited to potlucks don’t start a machine at 5 a.m. that’s as loud as a guitar riff at a rock concert. Recommend an electric version, which will significantly reduce the racket.

Winter in Colorado

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