Sidewalk snow plowing study proposed for Minneapolis, program could be seen by 2027

A long-held, backbreaking winter chore might not be a concern for Minneapolis residents much longer, as city council members are proposing an analysis to consider how a citywide sidewalk plowing and snow removal program might work.

The Minneapolis City Council’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee will consider a proposal during its Feb.16 meeting. The city will seek "a comprehensive analysis of how a sidewalk plowing and snow removal program could be fully implemented by January 2027."

In short, shoveling sidewalks after snowstorms would now be the city’s responsibility and no longer be subject to ticketing should the walkway remain unclear 72 hours later.

The analysis will provide fiscal data of a three-year, phased-in "municipal sidewalk plowing and snow removal program that encompasses the entire city sidewalk network." It would include a breakdown of current and projected staffing that might be able to handle the task.

The program would begin with a 298-mile "Pedestrian Priority Network" in 2024, then expand to include the entire 2,000+ mile city sidewalk network by 2027. 

This analysis will seek to include potential costs for equipment and maintenance, labor costs, and staffing and training needs, according to the proposal.

Recommendations will be presented to the committee no later than March 30, 2023.

Snow-covered sidewalks have long posed mobility issues for the elderly and those with disabilities. Previously, nonprofit organizations such as Our Streets Minneapolis helped residents overcome the icy burden

"If Minneapolis is going to become a truly walkable city year-round, we need to do a much better job of shoveling sidewalks," Our Streets Minneapolis Executive Director Ashwat Naraynan told FOX 9 in March of 2022.

The analysis would also include an assessment of current snow and ice removal programs and contractual programs currently utilized for snow removal.