40% of Minnesotans don’t drive yet some people still won’t clear their sidewalks despite requirements to do so.
Among those that I represent is a blind man that uses pedestrian facilities to get to work.
At a committee meeting today we discussed some snow emergency pilot programs aimed at better and more efficiently clearing streets. I took it upon myself to also introduce a plan to address sidewalk clearing. Last year I called on public works to clear sidewalks many times and they just didn’t have the resources to get it done. Here is the new plan that I proposed.
- City negotiates rates for clearing uncleared sidewalks with approved private companies (probably per foot or similar). The understanding is that the sidewalk must be cleared within 24 hours of receiving a complaint. (The city policy is that the walk must be cleared withing 24 hours of the end of a snow event.)
- The contractor must take and provide a time stamped picture to document the uncleared walk.
- The property owner is charged the full amount of the cost of clearing the walkway + $60 administrative fine for each occurrence.
The cost + fines angle should force those that are repeatedly negligent to just hire someone to do it, as it will be cheaper. Previously we just charged a flat amount which often was less than the cost of removal.
No one spoke against this at the committee meeting so I hope this passes next Monday.