Shoveling the sidewalks after a snowfall is not only a neighborly thing to do in Superior: It's the law.
And the city intends to enforce the law - within reason - according to Code Compliance Officer Lee Sandok Baker.
The city issued notice after the most recent snowfall to remind residents of their obligation to clear their sidewalk so pedestrians and people in wheelchairs or stroller can pass through the city unimpeded.
Enforcement efforts right now are focused in high pedestrian traffic areas, most of which fall into Safe Routes to School designated areas, and when complaints are filed with the city, Sandok Baker said.
Under city ordinances, the owner, occupant or person in charge of a building, whether commercial or residential, is required to clear the sidewalk of snow and ice adjacent to their property within 48 hours after a snowfall. That includes sidewalk ramps that lead to crosswalks.
Whether they do the work themselves or hire someone, the snow must be removed to the full width of the sidewalk.
"Even though the ordinance says 'clear of snow and ice,' it isn't a bare pavement policy," Sandok Baker said. As long as sidewalks are passable and the ice isn't slippery, she said she won't take action to enforce the city code against an individual.
Following the post-Christmas storm that brought snow and rain, followed by sub-zero temperatures, sidewalks throughout the city have, for the most part, a coat of crusty ice.
"From an enforcement standpoint I am not even going after the ice that is there because of the recent rain-snow storm," Sandok Baker said. "We want people to try to take care of it ... to do their best." Salt and sand are options people can use to create traction and mitigate slippery ice, she said.
She said she is focused on area where people have made no attempt to shovel or snow blow their walks, where people would have to trudge through deep snow to use the sidewalk.
"If there is a wide path, and what is on the sidewalk is that crusty ice that we all have ... and the snow is removed, then I'm not touching those as far as enforcement goes," Sandok Baker said. "It's not black and white, and it's not the biggest problem, where people are going to have to trudge through.
"At the point where someone in a wheelchair or with a walker would have no chance or would have a rough time - that's what I'm looking at right now."
Snow removal tips
• Remove snow from all sidewalks adjacent to your property including ramps to crosswalks.
• Do not push snow into the street, bike lanes, alley entrances, curb ramps, crosswalks or neighboring property.
• Only use as much salt and sand needed to mitigate icy surfaces to avoid harming the environment.
• Clear the full with of the sidewalk to allow mobility and access to pedestrians in wheelchairs, children in strollers and people with assistive devices.
• Be a good neighbor and offer help to those who are not physically able to clear their sidewalks.
• Make arrangements with a neighbor or snow removal service if you are going on vacation or won't be able to shovel the sidewalk in a timely manner.
Call 715-395-7596 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information or to file a complaint.