City urges businesses, property owners to shovel sidewalks

Municipal ordinances require snow shoveling, but are rarely enforced with tickets

February 8, 2011

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If you own a business or property in Chicago, the city has a message for you: grab a shovel.

Now that more streets are passable, people are turning their attention to sidewalks. The city of Chicago requires that property and business owners clear their own sidewalks. Brian Steele is a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation.

"It is of course required by city ordinance but more importantly, it’s about being a good neighbor," Steele says.

He says the city can issue tickets but rarely does. Instead, he says inspectors check up on 311 calls about unshoveled sidewalks to encourage compliance.

That’s especially important to people with disabilities. Marca Bristo heads the disability rights group Access Living.

"The sidewalks are our streets in many respects," Bristo says.

She says lots of people they work with are staying close to home.

Bristo says the city needs to do a better job making sure sidewalk ramps get shoveled so people in wheelchairs can get back to work and back to their regular lives.