Who is responsible for clearing icy sidewalks?

Slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk can be an unfortunate and sometimes painful part of winter. According to city ordinances in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, it is up to property owners to mitigate the dangers.

“Adjacent property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks in the city of Minneapolis,” said Lisa Cerney, deputy director of Public Works and City Engineer for the City of Minneapolis. “Single-family and duplex property owners have 24 hours to clear their sidewalks after an event and all other properties have four hours.”

Cerney said the city is stepping up its enforcement of the law this winter.

“We've partnered with several different departments within the City of Minneapolis and increased the number of staff that are responding,” she said.

Once inspectors come out, the property owner is given another chance to fix the problem. If they don't, they would face fines. The city could also charge you if its crews eventually have to clear the ice for you.

“Sidewalks are an important part of our Minneapolis transportation system,” Cerney said. “Many people have to use the sidewalks to get from point A to point B, so having a safe passage on the sidewalks is important.”

City officials encourage residents to report sidewalk issues to 311. The city is also continuing its free sand program to help property owners provide traction. Cerney said residents who are unable to clear the sidewalks should also call 311 to see if there are resources available to help.