Keep your sidewalks shoveled: It’s for your safety and it’s the law!

Even though the snow is continuing to fall over this long holiday weekend, the City of Minneapolis would like to remind property owners to keep their sidewalks clear. Minneapolis ordinance requires that property owners clear sidewalks after a snowfall within 24 hours for houses and duplexes and four daytime hours for apartment and commercial buildings. For your own benefit and to help your neighbors who are walking, pushing strollers and using wheelchairs, please do your part.

Last year, Minneapolis received more than 6,000 reports of unshoveled sidewalks. If the City of Minneapolis gets a report or discovers that a sidewalk is not properly cleared, Public Works will give the property owners a chance to clear it. If the sidewalk does not get cleared, the property owner may be issued a citation with a fine. Crews will remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk. The property owner will be billed for this service, and unpaid bills will be added to the owners property tax. You can file an online complaint about a sidewalk that is not shoveled or call 311.

When you shovel snow and clear ice, shovel the sidewalks on all sides of your property, the full width of the sidewalk down to the bare pavement. Remove all ice from sidewalks. Remember, you are as responsible for clearing ice on your sidewalk as clearing snow. Ice can be more dangerous and intimidating than snow. The sooner and more completely you shovel, the less likely ice will form. After the sidewalk is clear, sprinkling a little sand can help prevent slipping on frosty sidewalks.

Free sand

Free sand is available to Minneapolis residents. Pile snow onto your yard and boulevard – it is against the law to shovel snow into streets and alleys. If you have corner property, clear curb cuts at corners and crosswalks to the street gutter. Make arrangements for someone to take over while you are on vacation. You are not required to clear snow ridges or piles left by the plows beyond the gutter – City crews sometimes return to do that, but if they can’t your neighbors would appreciate it if you could clear an opening to get through. Folks should also be mindful to clear a path three feet wide from their garbage cart and recycling bin to the alley or street and make sure that the cart and bin can be moved freely.

Community groups in Minneapolis shovel for seniors and people with disabilities for a fee. For more information, call 673-3004.

Want to go the extra mile?

Are there neighbors on your street who are elderly or may have a hard time shoveling for any reason? Work with your neighbors to give a hand and ensure your entire block is safe and accessible to all.

Walking – anytime of the year – is environmentally friendly, healthy

Walking is a low-polluting, cost-effective, and healthy way to travel. More than 92 percent of streets in Minneapolis have sidewalks on both sides, resulting in nearly 1,800 miles of sidewalks in the city. Minneapolis has an active Bike Walk Ambassadors, who are part of a federal pilot project to get more people walking and bicycling. Minneapolis has also recently passed a pedestrian master plan to provide guidance on creating a great walking city where people choose to walk for transportation, recreation and health. The plan is part of Access Minneapolis, the City's 10-year transportation plan.

For more information on sidewalk shoveling rules and a downloadable flyer to inform and encourage others to shovel, visit Sidewalks.

Published Dec 24, 2009