Greenfield’s Law Would Have City Shovel Sidewalk if Property Owner Doesn’t


snow11New York – After receiving numerous complaints from residents about snow and ice coated sidewalks in front of commercial and residential properties throughout New York City, Councilman Greenfield is proposing changes to the city’s laws to better protect pedestrians. Currently, property owners receive a fine starting at $100 if they fail to clear their sidewalk within four hours after a storm ends. However, even when this fine is issued, the sidewalk often goes unshoveled and remains dangerous to pedestrians, especially children and senior citizens. Under Councilman Greenfield’s proposal, the city would use its municipal workers to clear the sidewalk and would then bill the delinquent property owner $250 or more for the work, depending on the size of the property. This would ensure that the hazard is remediated at no additional expense to the city while still holding the property owner accountable for breaking the law.

“We all have a responsibility to our neighbors to make sure that the sidewalks in front of our homes and stores are cleared and passable four hours after the snow stops falling. Unfortunately, many people don’t care and ignore the law. Simply issuing a fine to the property owner really doesn’t solve the problem, as many of these tickets are ignored. That’s why I am proposing to amend the existing law so that the city can perform the work itself, which would actually result in ice-free sidewalks and additional revenue,” said Councilman Greenfield.

In many cases, the neglected sidewalks are in front of properties such as abandoned or stalled construction sites, vacant houses or empty storefronts. With these summonses often going ignored and unpaid, allowing the dangerous condition to persist, Councilman Greenfield is proposing to overhaul the existing law so that it better meets the ultimate goal of getting the sidewalk cleared on behalf of pedestrians.

Under his proposed law, owners of commercial and residential properties who fail to clear their sidewalk would be charged a fee starting at $250 and rising depending on the size of the property for the city to perform the work. The city would use the revenue to fund the hiring of additional temporary snow laborers used to clear public areas such as street corners and curbs, which would create more jobs while leading to safer, clearer sidewalks for the public. The city already has a database of temporary snow laborers it calls on during major snow events, with pay starting at $12 an hour and rising to $18 an hour after working 40 hours in a week. Councilman Greenfield envisions an expansion of this program through the hiring of additional workers to clear sidewalks as part of his new legislation.

“It’s vital that all residents can get around safely, especially in a community like ours with so many families and seniors. This winter has made it clear that the current law does not provide enough motivation for many property owners to do the right thing. My law would increase the fine against those who flout this important responsibility, while also achieving the goal of making sure that every inch of sidewalk in New York City is safe and passable,” said Councilman Greenfield.

Councilman Greenfield is proposing this law after receiving numerous complaints from residents about snow and ice covered sidewalks throughout Boro Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst and after personally seeing several elderly constituents slip and fall. Last week, he worked with Senator Simcha Felder to remind all property owners of their responsibility to keep the sidewalk clear and warned of an impending Department of Sanitation crackdown against those who fail to do so.

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  1. So if it stops snowing at 12:00 midnight and you went to sleep at 10:00 pm you’d better get out of bed at 3:00 am to shovel your walk. And you happened to have gone to Lakewood to visit one of your kids, and in the interim there is a snowstorm, well you’d better race to get back and shovel your snow. And if it happens to be Shabbos when it snows, well I guess you’ll just have to pay a $250 fine to the city. And if it snows, stops for a few hours on Shabbos, that $250 could add up to $500 .

  2. This is a fine in disguise. $250 to clean your property???????? This job can be done by anyone for $30-$50. Every snow storm people come to my house and ask to shovel the snow. Never did a guy ask for more than $50. Where is the justification of $250?????????????

  3. Property owners have always been responsible for snow removal, but rules have to be reasonable in allowing time, and also in accommodating Shabbos observance.

  4. The City already does this scam, with “fixing” the sidewalk in front of your home. They decide, if according to their drunk engineers, the sidewalk is not %100 straight, they “fix” it and charge you Union fee’s, overtime, sick leave, lunch breaks etc…

  5. Vaad so why aren’t you. Time that the city took action. If you don’t clean up they will and will bill you How many people need to fall or slip first
    Mid wood is a crime

  6. Number five really. They give you time but this stuff is days old and never done we are to lazy and self absorbed Laws don’t apply to us

  7. This a GREAT idea!! As a disabled person, I have been a virtual prisoner in my own home, unable to go out and take care of anything because some inconsiderate neighbors didn’t have the decency to clear their sidewalks of ice and snow. This would effectively free me to be able to emerge from my home after the snow. getting the sidewalks cleared in record time would help the disabled and elderly escape their imprisonment in a timely manner. vifrtual pro=isoner