snow-shovel

It seems with every snowfall, more and more New Yorkers forget that it’s their responsibility to shovel their sidewalks and protect against slips and falls.

So we decided to put together this little post making clear what’s required of you, and a few extra tips to earn brownie points with the neighbors.

What’s required

  • Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any lot or building must clean snow and or ice from the sidewalk.
  • Cleaning must be done within 4 hours after the snow has stopped falling.
  • If snow stops falling after 9:00 p.m., it must be cleared by 11:00 a.m. the following morning.
  • Snow may not be thrown into the street.
  • If snow becomes frozen or is too hard to remove, residents can uses ashes, sand, sawdust or similar materials within the same time limits.
  • The sidewalk must be cleaned as soon as the weather permits.

The fine for violating any of these rules is between $100 and $150 for the first offense, and as high as $350 for subsequent offenses, according to city notices.

What’s recommended

  • During heavy snowfall, clear your sidewalk before the snow stops falling. It’s courteous to neighbors who may still have to get around, and it will make the job easier for yourself at the end of the day.
  • Check on your neighbors. If you live next to an elderly or disabled person, lend a hand and shovel for them. Hey, they may make you an apple pie.
  • Avoid using salt unless absolutely necessary. It can damage the sidewalk, leading to costly repairs for you down the road. Use kitty litter or sand instead.
  • If someone does slip and fall, go and see if they’re okay. It’s sad that this needs to be pointed out, but many people just snicker and go on their way.
  • Cleaning up your dog’s poop is still legally required, even if it’s sitting in some snow. Don’t be a jerk.

Related posts

  • Moe

    Thanks for adding the dog poop reminder – not cool leaving poop while pretending to be on a phone call with a poopie bag in ur hand

  • a good neighbor

    the law also states that if you don’t shovel at all and someone slips and falls, the city is liable and you only have to pay a fine.

    but if you shovel and don’t do a good job and someone slips and falls, you are fully liable for the injury.

    how interesting, right?

    • BrooklynBus

      Same thing if your sidewalk is cracked. Fix it and you get sued of someone falls. Otherwise it’s a fine. And you can’t fix the crack until the City comes down to inspect the sidewalk before and after the repair which require you to pay fees for the inspections, they they may require you to replace the entire square rather than fixing the crack. Meanwhile the sidewalk around Borough Hall has been crumbling for 15 years with no repairs at all.

  • ArnietheK

    What good are these regulations if they’re not enforced? There are homeowners on my blockand who never shovel the snow in front of their homes. To pass, pedestrians have to walk in the street amid vehicular traffic. Yet, these homeowners never get fined.

    • a good neighbor

      call 311.

  • Murry

    When folks start reporting their lazy neighbors then something can be done. Call 311.

  • anon

    Ned Berke please tell the people shoveling the sidewalks to STOP throwing the snow in the middle of the street so the cars could drive over it! It is not working.

    • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

      As is noted in the article, snow is not to be thrown into the street. Although it is unlikely to be enforced, it is against the law.

      • BrooklynBus

        I suppose the plow trucks pushing the snow onto already clean sidewalks and driveways is legal. They also salt my sidewalk with their damaging rock salt. I buy my own salt pellets and don’t need theirs.

  • JustMe

    People who dig out their cars always throw the snow into the middle of the street. That law is never enforced. It’s easier for them to do it this way then to actually pick up the snow and put it on the curb. Most people don’t even know its against the law to do this.

    • anonn

      It is just as easy to throw it in an unused part of the yard, the front lawn, or pile it on the sidewalk nearthe curb…………but no……they have to throw it on the roadway usually right after the plow goes by. It is the law but people need to be told….just like they need to be told to pick up their dogs poop in front of someone home when that person doesn’t even own a dog….ugh…..I called 311 last week on a person who refuses to shovel. Sanitation showed up and caught them breaking the law and issed them a summons. Guess what? They were out there today shoveling!

    • Peter

      What world do you live in? It looks like you do not own a car and never had to dig it out from the snow

  • guestwho

    Interesting law. You’re required to clean in front of your property, but if you so much as put a chair out there for a minute, well, it’s not your property, you’ll get fined! Also, as others have pointed out, if you don’t shovel, you get a fine. If you shovel a little, you can get sued for millions.

  • Bikerchick

    My question is this. There is an abandoned (for a good 8 years now) job site on our block that is never shoveled, weeded, cleaned up after. There is no number on the fence to call. Do you just call 311 and pray? How do you get this shoveled so someone doesn’t kill themselves? Anybody?

    • A-helpful-hand

      Where is it located?

  • A CIVILIZED HUMAN BEING

    “Cleaning up your dog’s poop is still legally required, even if it’s sitting in some snow. Don’t be a jerk.” SEEMS THERE’S A LOT OF “JERKS” AROUND, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER, SPRING, WHENEVER. NO LAW ENFORCEMENT. LOT OF INCONSIDERATE, SELFISH, BOORISH, PIGS AROUND. NO, NOT THE PINK FOUR-LEGGED FAT KIND EITHER. THESE HUMAN PIGS COME IN ALL SHAPES, SIZES, GENDERS.