City issues reminder on sidewalk clearing

Snow sure can be pretty… hard to walk through when it’s piled up on the sidewalk.

The City of Warren reminds its residents and business owners that it has an ordinance that covers snow shoveling.

“You need to shovel your sidewalks,” code officer Alan Gustafson said on Thursday. “Prompt removal helps facilitate safe pedestrian travel.”

The rules for commercial and residential areas are different.

In the central business district, and on Pennsylvania Avenue between Water and South streets and Market Street between Pennsylvania and Fifth avenues, the timelines are tighter than in other areas of the city. Sidewalks must be shoveled “within four hours after any fall of snow, sleet or freezing rain that ends between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.” and “by 9 a.m. of the following day when any such precipitation ends after 8 p.m.”

“You want to have your downtown areas as clear as possible,” Gustafson said.

Throughout the rest of the city, residents have until midnight to clear sidewalks of snow that falls during the day and until 10 a.m. to clear snow that falls at night. The more generous timeframe “gives people that work during the day an opportunity” to shovel, Gustafson said. “It’s pretty flexible for the residential folks.”

In all areas, sidewalks must be cleared at least once per day in the event of continuous snow fall, sleet or freezing rain, including slush and ice due to drifting and melting.

Businesses with broad sidewalks are required to clear as much as 10 feet starting at the front of the building. Owners of corner lots are responsible for clearing along the walkway from the curb to the main sidewalk.

Ice must be removed without using hazardous materials or those that could damage the sidewalk.

Property owners who do not comply will receive notification from the city.

“The first occurrence, we’ll give them a courtesy notice,” Gustafson said. “After that there are penalties.”

City officials suggest snow be shoveled into the tree lawn or the yard. Some residents shovel or otherwise send snow into the street. “It’s unsafe,” Director of Public Works Mike Holtz said. “It’s counter-productive.”

The drivers of plow trucks do not intentionally plow snow into people’s driveways, he said.

Fire hydrants are another area of concern when the snow gets deep. “It’s for your own personal safety,” Holtz said. “If you have a hydrant on your right-of-way, don’t pile snow on it.”