Are cities doing enough to pressure shoveling scofflaws?

Minneapolis and St. Paul have cracked down on property owners who do not shovel their sidewalks. MPR News reports:

Both cities will send work crews to clear sidewalks at property owners’ expense if they aren’t shoveled. But last winter, the smaller city of St. Paul cleared more sidewalks, assessed higher fees against scofflaws and focused more on repeat offenders.

St. Paul charged nearly $300,000 in fines while Minneapolis was more than $130,000 last year.

Although the assessments in both Minneapolis and St. Paul were concentrated in poorer areas, both managers of the programs said that any clustering was likely only because those were areas where more complaints were lodged.

Today’s Question: Are cities doing enough to pressure shoveling scofflaws?

  • Roger Schaeffer

    IF You Own a Home or Rental Property Shovel The Darn Sidewalks. People without cars rely on sidewalks to get where they are going. It is unsafe to walk on the street especially after a heavy snowfall. Proprieties with unshoveled sidewalks are an eyesore as are properties with lawns not regularly mowed [native grasses lawns excluded IMO]

  • Pearly

    Yes all great cities are based upon high taxes and high fines.

    • We shall. Thanks!

      • Pearly

        Don’t forget to move your car when it snows. lol

  • Gary F

    This St Paul guy who goes for an evening walk most nights says SHOVEL YOUR SIDEWALKS PEOPLE!

    And, many, not all, folks with the “native grass front yards” are in my opinion, the folks who don’t shovel their sidewalks.

  • Ann Trautmiller Iverson

    In my city you have 12 hours after a snow fall ends to shovel your sidewalk or it’s an $85 fine….I know…. because I got one several years ago after a very light snowfall. But I wasn’t the only one that time….so did my boss and business where my husband worked. You can be sure I never let that happen again!!

  • Wayne

    The residents and businesses of both cities have shown they largely aren’t responsible enough to clear their sidewalks, so maybe it’s time for the cities to turn it into a city service and charge property owners by street frontage for that service. I’m tired of this complete lack of respect for the commons being allowed to continue unabated. People also don’t seem to understand that the sidewalk isn’t considered cleared unless it’s down to the pavement. A thin layer of ice or slush is not an acceptable clearing job.
    If Minneapolis doesn’t get serious about this soon, someone from an advocacy group for the disabled should file a lawsuit against them for the negligent handling of this. It makes most of the city barely navigable for the able-bodied, and I imagine impossible to go anywhere without assistance for the disabled. That seems like a clear ADA issue in infrastructure maintenance to me.

  • Eamon Coyne

    Lots of Midway and East Side dots on that map. Not as many in Highland Park. Just found that interesting. We have renters on my street on the East Side who don’t feel they are responsible for shoveling sidewalks or cutting grass. It is kind of a bummer, especially when you take the time to really clean your area up.

  • Woody

    Just curious where you can complain? I take the Green Line daily and there are plenty of businesses that still have not shoveled.

  • Jasper

    Minneapolis is too slow in responding and clearing unshoveled sidewalks; I wish we were as proactive as St. Paul. I turned in a property last week and the automated response is that it will be resolved in 3 WEEKS! That’s way too long to wait. I walk extensively every single day and it is awful how many properties aren’t cleared or are done very poorly. I feel for those not as agile as myself.

    And, please don’t project poor maintenance habits onto those of us with differing landscape styles. I have lots of gardens that include native grasses, but I can tell you that mine is always the first and the cleanest sidewalk on my entire block – both sides. And this, despite the fact that my block is a heavily traveled and business dominant block.

    I like the idea of having a city run snow clearing service available, but not required. I do not need another tax on my already sky high property taxes for a job that I can and am quite capable of doing myself. Let it be optional for those who choose it and required for those who prove that they can’t or won’t do it.