With a few snowfalls already under our belt, it is safe to say winter has arrived in Minnesota. With this in mind we have to think about winter maintenance, parking, and all the other things that affect transportation in a Minnesota winter.
To learn more about the city’s responsibilities during a snowfall or snow emergency and the pitfalls that go along with that, check out Ella’s blog.
Photo credit: Julia Curran
While the City of Minneapolis sends out information on parking during a snow emergency, which is an important piece of keeping people going where they’re going, the city does not send out instructions on how to clear the sidewalks in front their houses after a snowfall.
Clear sidewalks are an equally important piece of keeping people on the move, particularly those with mobility issues or no access to a car: those who tend to be most vulnerable. If you are new to living in Minneapolis or new to living in a home rather than an apartment, these rules are something you might have never heard, I know I hadn’t.
This information is not well circulated or enforced but it is extremely important, even if you don’t use the sidewalk in front of your house, someone else probably does and by leaving is covered in snow or ice you are affecting the safety of your neighbors and others in the city.
Photo credit: Julia Curran
So here’s what you need to know:
Property owners must clear sidewalks after the end of a snowfall within 24 hours for single family homes and duplexes and within 4 daytime hours for apartments, commercial buildings and other properties. The sidewalks must be cleared to the full width of the sidewalk down to the bare pavement, ice must be removed, and snow cannot be piled onto streets or alleys. If your property is on a corner, pedestrian ramps, located on corners and crosswalks, must be cleared to the street gutter. The city of Minneapolis offers free sidewalk sand for Minneapolis residents.
If a sidewalk in front of a property is not cleared in the allotted time and the City of Minneapolis is made aware of this information, Public Works will inspect the sidewalk and allow the property owner to remedy the situation. If the sidewalk is not cleared before re-inspection the property owner will be issued a citation with a fine and the city will remove the snow and ice. If the city has to clear the snow and ice, the property owner will be billed for this service. All of this information can be found here.
If you need information about how to properly shovel your sidewalk check out a video here.
If you want to go above and beyond to create safer sidewalks for everyone consider helping an elderly or disabled neighbor shovel their sidewalks after a snowfall. If you are a property owner who requires help shoving your sidewalks here is a resource guide for how to get your sidewalk shoveled.