Chicago’s first snowstorm over the weekend made it abundantly clear: winter has arrived.
With winter's arrival also comes the need for keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice.
Whether you live in Chicago or local suburban communities, being a good neighbor means having good shoveling habits.
Unshoveled snow serves as an obstacle for people using sidewalks -- specifically people with disabilities, seniors and kids walking to school. It’s important to keep pathways clear so everyone can travel safely this winter.
To encourage local residents to commit to good shoveling practices, we're asking you to share photos of the good, the bad and the ugly in regards to snow shoveling. Please post photos using the hashtag #ChicagoShovels on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to share the approximate location and capture a clear image of the example.
Stay tuned throughout the winter as we share some of the best photos on Twitter, Facebook and our blog.
Recently, the city of Chicago approved a new ordinance that clarified some of its shoveling laws and raised the fines. The new Snow Removal Ordinance will take effect Saturday, November 28th.
The new ordinance makes it crystal clear that property owners are required by law to remove snow seven days a week: For daytime snowfall, sidewalks must be cleared by 10 p.m., and for nighttime snowfall, it must be removed by 10 a.m. at the latest.
To increase compliance this year, fines for not following the ordinance will be anywhere from $50 to $500 for repeat offenders.
Other changes include the requirement that sidewalk ramps adjacent to nearby properties must be cleared by responsible parties. Snow can’t be tossed onto public fixtures (bus stops, bike racks, Divvy stations) and public right of ways (travel lanes and bikeways). And cleared pathways must be 5 feet wide.
If you find yourself trudging through snow on a sidewalk, call your municipality and let them know.
In the city of Chicago, call 311 or make a complaint online. (While it's a bit dated, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning compiled a list of local suburbs that have snow shoveling laws.)
Chicago residents who are unable to shovel -- such as seniors and people with disabilities -- can also call 311 to request the assistance of a city volunteer from the Chicago Snow Corps program.
The city of Chicago has door hangers you can print out asking people to shovel.
And, as always, be careful while shoveling -- especially those of us who need to be cautious about over-exertion.