Don't forget to clear the sidewalk after snowfall

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Stacy Vogel
Friday, December 7, 2007
— Homeowners got quite the workout with the shovels and ploughs this week.

But as you’re clearing snow from your driveway, don’t forget about the sidewalk. Here’s what you need to know about sidewalk shoveling in the city of Janesville:

Q: When do I have to clear the sidewalk?

A: Homeowners must clear their sidewalks within 12 hours of the end of a snowstorm, said Mandy Bonneville, assistant city operations director.

The city doesn’t have a specific definition of snowstorm, but “a sidewalk needs to be shoveled when it becomes impassable for people walking or any disabled individual,” Bonneville said.

Q: How much do I have to shovel?

A: Just clearing a path isn’t good enough, Bonneville said. You’re supposed to clear the entire width of the sidewalk.

Q: What if I don’t clear it in time?

A: “We handle it on a complaint basis,” Bonneville said. “So if we get a phone call (about) an individual from a property that hasn’t shoveled, we will send someone out to inspect it.”

If the sidewalk is indeed impassable, the city will issue a notice to the homeowner giving him or her a certain amount of time to clear it. If that doesn’t happen, the city will send a crew to clear the sidewalk and charge the homeowner for its services.

Charges typically run from $100 to $150, Bonneville said.

The city receives complaints about sidewalks that haven’t been shoveled after every snowstorm, but the number varies, she said.

Q: Am I responsible for salting my sidewalk?

A: No, just for shoveling it, Bonneville said.

Q: What if I’m disabled or elderly and can’t shovel my sidewalk?

A: The city takes special circumstances into account, but disabled residents should still look into other options, Bonneville said. Some private companies shovel snow for a fee, and family and friends often are willing to help out.

Q: What if someone falls on my sidewalk?

A: The city won’t ticket you if someone slips on your sidewalk, Bonneville said, but you might be liable if the person chooses to sue.

Last updated: 11:46 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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