Snowy Sidewalk Complaints Have Doubled

By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Keeping your sidewalk packed with snow could cost you a wad of cash.

“What we can do is write you a citation,” said Dan Bauer, Minneapolis supervisor of sidewalk inspections.

Bauer has three sidewalk inspectors and they’ve been busy with complaints of snowy sidewalks.

“Currently we’ve responded to about 1,200 complaints this year,” said Bauer. That’s double the amount of complaints the city hears on an average year.

The sidewalk shoveling ordinance in Minneapolis states property owners with single family homes or duplexes, have 24 hours to remove the snow off the sidewalk once snow stops falling. For commercial property owners, sidewalks must be shoveled within four hours during daylight time.

“After our historic snowfall we suspended our normal inspection and enforcement activities for three or four days,” said Bauer. “Currently we’re back to our regular inspections and enforcement activities.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

But before the city issues a citation or fine inspectors will send out a warning letter to sidewalk offenders. Bauer says usually that’s enough to get most people to clear off their walkways.

If the sidewalk is still not shoveled then a work order is issued to the Public Works Street Department and that’s when charges start to pile up.

“They have crews that come out to do sidewalk snow shoveling. A bill is then sent to the property owner and if the property owner doesn’t pay, the cost of that bill will be assessed against their property tax,” said Bauer.

The cities bill to clean up your sidewalk could be $90 to $150. Bauer says they could also issue an additional citation of $102. Bauer says that’s usually for repeat offenders and he doesn’t commonly write tickets.

The ordinance states sidewalks should be shoveled to their full width and down to the pavement.

“I understand there are some circumstances where that’s not possible,” said Bauer.

More from Edgar Linares
  • me

    How about the curbs…who is responsible for those? I can’t even cross a street without climbing a moutain. The other day I fell and slid the the snow bank that was covering the cross walk. Not very safe with traffic if you ask me. I think we need to worry about the curbs. Those seem to be far worse than any sidewalk in my neighboorhod.

  • mark from

    Supervisor of sidewalk inspections! You have to be kidding me! What qualifications does a person need to get this job! How big is the department? We have no money to plow, but we have this dept! No wonder we have no money! WCCO you need to do a follow up story on this one.

  • Annie

    Who do you complain too? I get off the bus at 61st and Nicollet and walk to work and I have to walk on the street and it’s not safe but nobody – either residents or businesss in the neighborhood have cleaned them up – who do I address my concern too!

    • max

      Call 311, or go to the City of Minneapolis website and click the 311 link from there. You can file a complaint by phone or through the website.

  • Bobby

    Agree with you Mark. I sure hope this guy makes minimum wage to inspect these sidewalks.

    • MarkFreidman

      Relax chaps – these positions are very low pay and sometimes done by seniors even to offset property taxes. Bet we looking at $9/hour on average. Way less than the intake they grab from a homeowner when they send out the crews to do a lazy persons job. Nice little profit center.
      What the question should be is WHERE does this money all guy after expenses?

      • mark from

        @ Mark Freidman Your wrong, the Union would have a field day with the city if they ever hired someone to do a Public Works job.

  • Mike

    How about clearing the mounds of snow at street corners so cars can see over them instead of having to inch out! Nobody is going to die from an unshoveled sidewalk compared to getting t-boned because you can’t see over snowbanks.

    • me

      I agree Mike..not to mention falling down the mound of snow many times trying to cross a busy street. That’s not exactly safe either…I slid down the other side of the mound of snow and into traffic! I would think someone is responsible…and I would also think, the responsible party, could be sued if someone gets hurt.

  • Just Me

    Many sidewalks are filled with snow the city plows piled there while attempting to clear or broaden streets. Asking residents to clear all that snow is ridiculous. If that is the expectation they better warn ER’s to plan on receiving many more heart attack victims.

    • me

      I agree…I think if the City Piles it on from plowing… then they should be responsible for cleaning it up. Also, they should be responsible for cleaning the currently snow packed 5 foot mounts on the curbs making it difficult for both motorists and pedestrians.

      • BB

        Same here in the burbs and every where else in state – they can’t “cut out ” every opening or they’d be doing the stuff until June. Ease up – it’s part of living in the Great North. If it’s to much I guess you can move south … but then hows to clean up the tornado and flood damage!

  • myself

    Owatonna should be doing the same. What happened to the law that snow had to be removed from your sidewalk within 24 hours? The roads are icy and school kids are walking in the roads, whats it going to take Owatonna, some child getting killed? You can ticket the cars that are parked on the wrong side but you didn’t notice the sidewalk that has 5 feet of snow on it? Fine without warning when was the first storm?

  • mark from

    We searched all over the City of Mpls website looking for any information on the sidewalk dept. and their budget. I can take a rather good guess that these guys are making $18.00 to $22.00 an hour with benefits. After reading what was written by the above I bet some people would take one of those jobs for 3/4 of the pay and do a much better job. It still gets me that the city of Mpls has a Supervisor for sidewalks! How does one land a job like that?

  • Nancy Aleshire

    The worst places are at bus stops (in center of blocks). Why should we have to climb over snowbanks to get to our bus? I’ve complained countless times to the City of Brooklyn Park. They are just lazy.

  • Andrew in albert lea

    get off your rears and contribute. Be a solution to a problem and stop whining like 7 year olds. There is not enough MONEY to do all your whims and wants. It’s winter – shake the big butts and do some work plzzzz

  • Henry Krunk

    Ex City of MPLS employee
    The supervisors make about $30.00 per hour and the inspectors make about $25.00 per hour. Its a great gig for these folks and most jobs go to friends and family. The City could cut 50% of the workforce and nobody would notice unless the 50% that actually work are the one that are cut. Way too many no nothing middle management types.

  • Kevin

    So if I dont clean my sidewalks up I get fined……if Minneapolis and St Paul dont clean sidewalks its called a budget issue……I am tired of shoveling…and I am short on cash….so my sidewalks will no longer be cleaned….I am having a budget issue.

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