Proposed law would have city clear sidewalks if property owners don’t shovel after snowstorms

snow new york city shovel
A man shovels a sidewalk on Tuesday in New York City.
Credit: Getty Images

A proposed law would have city workers shovel sidewalks, charging property owners for the service if snow isn’t cleared after storms.

Instead of issuing fines for unshoveled sidewalks, Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield proposed billing property owners $250 or more when municipal workers are dispatched to clear snow.

Owners are currently fined $100 if they fail to clear their sidewalks within four hours after the end of a storm, sometimes resulting in unshoveled and dangerous sidewalks, Greenfield said.

“Simply issuing a fine to the property owner really doesn’t solve the problem, as many of these tickets are ignored,” Greenfield said in a statement.

The proposed charge would be adjusted by property size and revenue would be used to expand a program employing temporary workers during major snow events.

The proposal comes after Greenfield received complaints about unshoveled sidewalks in Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst in his district amid recent storms. Greenfield said he witnessed several elderly constituents fall and even got in a spat with a property owner who cursed him.

“It’s vital that all residents can get around safely, especially in a community like ours with so many families and seniors,” Greenfield said of his proposal. “This winter has made it clear that the current law does not provide enough motivation for many property owners to do the right thing.”

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders



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