Breaking down Rochester’s sidewalk snow removal ordinance

Under city ordinance, property owners with a public sidewalk in Rochester are required to remove snow and ice within 24-hours after a snowfall.
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 5:46 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Walking on icy pavement can be dangerous and lead to serious falls on driveways, steps and sidewalks. Under city ordinance, property owners with a public sidewalk in Rochester are required to remove snow and ice within 24-hours after a snowfall.

“Rochester wants to be a walkable community. It’s a pedestrian safety thing. We have a lot of people who try to use our sidewalks in town. Also we have disabled people and people in wheelchairs. They need to get around, too,” Rochester assistant city engineer Tyler Niemeyer said.

Residents are required to clear the sidewalk in front of their property and the pedestrian ramp if they live on a corner, while the city takes care of public paths.

“A lot of those are actually more on what we designate as a path instead of a sidewalk. A lot of those are park paths or flood control system paths. Things like that,” Niemeyer said.

If you come across a sidewalk or ramp that isn’t cleared within the time limit, you can report it to the city.

“Our inspectors will show up to the site and if they confirm that a property should be ticketed, then we have a contractor on board, a private company that contracts with the city annually to go out and clear that snow,” Niemeyer said.

Public works says the number of complaints varies each year, depending on how much wintry weather we get.

“I think the last time that we dispatched which would have been like a week ago, we had eighty something complaints that we went out and inspected,” Niemeyer said.

But not all complaints result in fines.

“Really the standard is more due diligence. Have they been out there and made an effort to clean the sidewalk off? We don’t expect completely clean, dry concrete when we inspect the sidewalks,” Niemeyer said.

Another area of your property you should keep clean of snow and ice is your mailbox. USPS says it will hold your mail if carriers can’t get to your mailbox.