With as much snow and ice as we receive every winter in Minneapolis, keeping the sidewalks clear would not be possible without a team effort. Although shoveling the sidewalk is nobody’s idea of fun, it is a great way to show that you care about your community, and in our city, it’s also required by law.
In addition to enabling people to get around unimpeded, keeping walkways free of ice and snow helps prevent the injuries that slipping and falling on ice can result in, such as sprained ankles, fractured wrists, broken bones, muscle tears, and back and spinal cord injuries. At the same time, when you remove snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of your home, you are protecting yourself from being held liable if someone falls.
The City of Minneapolis details the following requirements for residential snow and ice removal.
Minneapolis ordinance requires that property owners clear sidewalks after the end of a snowfall within:
24 hours for houses and duplexes.
Four daytime hours for apartment and commercial buildings (daytime hours begin at 8 a.m.).
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. After the sidewalk is clear, sprinkling a little sand can help prevent slipping on frosty sidewalks.
Pile snow onto your yard and boulevard. It’s against the law to shovel snow into streets and alleys.
If you have a corner property, clear curb cuts at corners and crosswalks to the street gutter. You are not required to clear snow ridges or piles left by the plows beyond the gutter. City crews will make an effort to return to do this work as quickly as possible, but with some 20,000 corners to clear across the City, it may take a while. However, your neighbors would appreciate it if you could clear an opening sooner to help shorten the wait and provide a clear passage.
Avoid a ticket
If the City of Minneapolis gets a complaint or discovers that a sidewalk is not properly cleared, Public Works will inspect the sidewalk and give the property owners a chance to clear it.
If the sidewalk has not been cleared upon re-inspection, the property owner may be issued a citation with a fine.
Crews will remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk. Property owners will be billed for this service, and unpaid bills will be added to the owner’s property tax.
If you are injured in a preventable fall, act quickly. Seek medical care immediately to make a document of your injuries and also make complete observations of the accident scene. If you slipped on an icy sidewalk, note the date and time of recent snowfalls, and the conditions of surrounding sidewalks. Take photographs of any dangerous conditions that may have contributed to your injury.
Because it is so important to investigate these accidents quickly and because of the complexity of liability law, call Meshbesher & Spence immediately for help. Our experienced, Minnesota attorneys know what to look for and what questions to ask to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for your injuries.
If you are a senior or a person with a disability there are community groups that can remove the snow and ice from your sidewalk for a nominal fee. Call 311 to find out more.