96 percent of Minneapolis residents shoveled their sidewalks this winter

Data from Minneapolis’ proactive sidewalk inspections show that many residents need to do a better job at shoveling.

It’s the part of the winter that everyone hates the most, but if you have a sidewalk, you have to clear it.

This year, Minneapolis tried to turn up the heat a little bit with the proactive inspections, dividing the city into four quadrants and inspecting 35,000 properties.

Overall, 96 percent of people complied, but the city engineer says Minneapolis can do better.

“I think our big takeaway is that could be viewed as a high number, it’s not 100 percent. And if you are moving down block and you have even one property that has not cleared their sidewalk it impacts people’s ability to get around. So, we have more work to do,” said Lisa Cerney, the city’s engineer.

The city actually selected four grids where they inspected twice for shoveled sidewalks during the winter.

Upon the second inspection, compliance did improve, which is why the city is doubling the number of inspections coming up next winter.

February was by far the hardest month, with 39 inches of snow falling, but the city found sidewalk shoveling compliance improved as the winter dragged on.

“When we first started the season the first snow inspection process we went through we had an 89 percent compliance rate. And, near the end we were around 96, 97, 98 percent compliance,” said Cerney.

The city found that residents who did not shovel typically faced some challenges.

“Whether they are part of the aging population or they have a disability, or they were out of town or have young children, those are some of the common things that we’ve heard,” said Cerney.

The city’s 311 hotline took in 271 calls during February from people asking for help clearing their sidewalks. The city refers them to a number of agencies that can help in those instances.