Minneapolis Considers Drastic Action to Clear Snow-Blocked Sidewalks

Minneapolis is stepping up enforcement of snow removal scofflaws and considering taking on the job of clearing sidewalks in the name of walkability.
November 6, 2018, 2pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tony Webster

"After decades of trusting residents to shovel their sidewalks during the winter, and fining them if they don’t, the city of Minneapolis has admitted defeat," writes Miguel Otárola.

"The city is considering whether to take responsibility for plowing its nearly 2,000 miles of sidewalks," adds Otárola. "It could cost as much as $20 million, but would fulfill the goal of making the city more walkable in winter and eliminate the current system, in which uncleared sidewalks can remain a slippery menace for a week or more."

Taking responsibility means the city would send inspectors around the city after the first plowable snow and inform scofflaw residents of violations of code. Previously, enforcement was based on a more "neighbor-telling-on-neighbor" approach. Noncompliance is rampant.

In case you're wondering how much snow Minneapolis residents have to deal with every winter, Otárola writes: "Minneapolis has 1,910 miles of sidewalks, which are covered by an average of 52 inches of snow a year…"

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Published on Sunday, November 4, 2018 in Star Tribune
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