City of Minneapolis testing new program to encourage property owners to clear sidewalks after snowfall

February 11, 2019 05:24 PM

Many have hardly had a chance to put snowblowers and shovels away before a new round of snowfall moves in lately.

This season the city of Minneapolis is trying a new strategy to hold property owners accountable for not clearing their sidewalks of snow and ice.


"It's very important I think because there are a lot of older people around here," said Gail Johnson, who lives in Minneapolis. 

"Everybody needs it done and it's a big job. A lot of people don't have time, other people are elderly and just can't do it anymore so it's an important service yeah," a volunteer said, who helps snow-blow neighborhoods.

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The city of Minneapolis gives property owners 24 hours after the snowfall ends to clean up the mess on the sidewalks.

"Sidewalks are a vital part of our transportation," said Lisa Cerney, City of Minneapolis Deputy Director of Public Works. 

This season, instead of relying solely on the public reporting snow-filled sidewalks, they're testing a pilot project: the Proactive sidewalk clearing enforcement. It's where inspectors go out to random neighborhoods actively looking for areas that aren't clear.

One of the most frequent complaints received by both Minneapolis and St. Paul this time of year has to do with snow and ice-covered sidewalks. Below are the total number of complaints received by both cities from January 1, 2018 to present.

After a work order is generated, the city of St. Paul sends a crew to clear the sidewalk and then bills the property owner.

"We want data, we want data to show us where sidewalks are getting cleared, where they're not, what we're doing about it," Cerney said. 

If you don't listen, you'll pay to have the city clean it up for you.

"A typical residential property is $149 and a corner lot is closer to $300," Cerney said. 

"Please shovel, it's easier for a lot of people to take their dogs out and older people to walk, it's very important for you to shovel your [side]walks," Johnson said. 

One of the most frequent complaints received by both Minneapolis and St. Paul has to do with snow and ice covered sidewalks.

Since January 1 of last year, the city of Minneapolis received 4,186 complaints related to sidewalk snow and ice. St. Paul received 5,182 similar complaints during that same timeframe. Those complaints resulted in 785 work orders which results in the city sending a crew to clear the sidewalk and then billing the property owner.

If you see an area that hasn't been cleaned up, you can report it to the city of Minneapolis by calling 311 or click here.

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Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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