Minneapolis approves sidewalk snow plowing study which could start by 2024

The city of Minneapolis is looking into the possibility of a program for removing snow from sidewalks and streets starting as soon as 2024.

Ice covers a lot of Minneapolis sidewalks after cooler temperatures followed the recent warm weather and rain. Slips and falls are inevitable, and the ice is essentially a roadblock for people with accessibility issues, like 33-year-old Michael Sack.

He says reliable snow shoveling would be a big help.

"If Minneapolis develops a workable and in-depth plan for their municipal shoveling program, I am absolutely on board," said Sack, who founded Minneapolis Sidewalk Repair Hunters and is a member of the Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities.

On Thursday, the city’s public works and infrastructure committee approved a study of municipal snow and ice removal programs.

Sack says he supports the program as it'll help him know he can get around town safely and ease another burden as well.

"The municipal snow shoveling program will also help residents who are incapable of shoveling due to having a disability or health issues," Sack said.

Minneapolis already spends about $13 million per year on plowing streets and alleys. 

Local nonprofit Our Streets Minneapolis asked the city to add $6 million for municipal sidewalk clearing. The plan which will be analyzed would be to start with the 298-mile Pedestrian Priority Network and expand to all 2000+ miles of sidewalks by 2027.

"I would like to see the plan start sooner, but I guess they need time to train personnel and get equipment," Sack said.

The city issued more than 1000 fines totaling over $200,000 last winter for sidewalks that weren't shoveled. It's already passed those numbers this winter.