City to crack down hard on uncleared sidewalks

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.

  1. 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.)
  2. The contractor must take and provide a time stamped picture to document the uncleared walk.
  3. 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.


  1. Who do we call if a neighbor is blatantly ignoring the law? The city seemed to do little last year for some houses in the neighborhood that regularly never cleaned their sidewalk. And it wasn’t that they did’t clear it within 24 hours of the snow stopping. They didn’t clear it at all.

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