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Who Is Supposed to Shovel Louisville's TARC Stops? (It Might Be You.)

snow
Eastern Parkway on Monday.

Update 3:35 p.m.: 'TARC Dig Out Team'
In a news release Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Greg Fischer urged Louisville residents to clear the sidewalk, particularly those near TARC stops. The city is also forming the "TARC Dig Out Team" to help. From the news release:
Fischer said employees from several city government agencies and inmates from Metro Corrections are being pulled together, along with employees of TARC, to create a TARC Dig Out Team. These employees will focus on the most highly-used TARC bus stops. But even with this new combined approach, there’s no physical way the city can address all of the bus stops. Since most TARC bus stops are on sidewalks, property owners are technically responsible for clearing sidewalks in and around TARC stops.
Earlier: Louisville sidewalks spent a good deal of the past couple weeks covered in snow or ice—that includes many of the Transit Authority of River City's 4,800 bus stops throughout the metro area.

Whose responsibility is it to clear those TARC stops?

Not TARC's, nor Louisville Metro's.

The responsibility falls to the owners of properties with TARC stops, said TARC director Barry Barker.

Louisville property owners are supposed to shovel sidewalks on their land—and the property owners can be fined for not doing so.

But the city rarely issues fines.

"The sidewalks, including the TARC stops, remain the responsibility of the property owners," said Harold Adams, spokesman for Louisville Metro Public Works.

This can lead to TARC stops covered in snow and ice. To compound matters, slush and snow plowed from roads can create impassable ridges between stops and buses, especially for passengers with disabilities.

Who is responsible for that area?

"The boarding area, between the stop and the bus, is TARC's responsibility," Adams said.

He added it isn't "practical" for city plow operators to avoid leaving snow piles at TARC stops.

"I just don't know what they would do differently, because the snow has got to be plowed out of the driving lanes," he said.

With heavy snows forecast for Louisville this week, TARC is working on a plan to ensure stops are accessible during and after snow, TARC spokesman Jon Reiter said.

TARC plans to "pay close attention to stops and shelters in downtown Louisville and our busier corridors," Reiter said, declining Wednesday morning to discuss the plan in greater detail.

More details will be announced later Wednesday.

TARC's "busier corridors" include Broadway, Dixie Highway, Preston Avenue, Bardstown Road, Frankfort Avenue and Fourth Street near the University of Louisville.

More than 200 TARC-operated vehicles make regular stops at nearly 4,800 stops across the Louisville area every day, Barker said. The thought of clearing snow from each of those stops is "amazing," he added.

But he said sometimes exceptions are made.

Recently, when snow blanketed many driveways and sidewalks around Louisville, a TARC3 Paratransit operator transporting a wheelchair-bound passenger home from a medical appointment arrived at the destination to find the route from the street to the front door impassable.

Barker said the driver borrowed a shovel from a neighbor and dug a path.

"Got him up to the house," Barker said.

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Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.