Help make your community a walkable winter wonderland
We want to ensure that our communities are places anyone can easily walk.
To accomplish this, we need to shovel those sidewalks!
It’s the right thing to do and in some places—including Chicago — it’s the law.
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.
The Chicago City Council updated its snow removal ordinance in 2015, clarifying the shoveling required and increasing penalties.
The new ordinance makes it crystal clear that property owners are required by law to remove snow 7 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, fines for not following the ordinance will be anywhere from $50 to $500 for repeat offenders.
Clear sidewalks are important for everyone, but they are especially important for seniors, children and people with disabilities.
Uncleared sidewalks force people to travel in the street, a thoroughly dangerous enterprise. Lack of shoveled sidewalks might even discourage people from walking at all.
When people can't walk easily to a destination, they might opt for making an unnecessary car trip or, in some cases, residents may be prevented from making a needed trip to the doctor's office or the grocery store.
Help your neighborhood
Many communities already require building managers and landlords to keep the sidewalk clear.
Some towns and cities already have laws on the books. If yours doesn’t, we can help! Get a sample ordinance to bring to your community, and contact Active Trans at 312.427.3325 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
We also ask that you remind your neighbors about the importance of shoveling, or you can thank them when they've done a good job.
The Chicago Department of Transportation produces printable door hangers in English and Spanish that can be used all winter long. We also have some fliers that can be used for suburban communities (Spanish).
City of Chicago resources
If you live in Chicago and see a snowy sidewalk, you can report it to 311, Chicago's city services hotline. You can also make an online complaint.
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 has a website dedicated to winter resources, including a snow plow tracker, winter parking apps and volunteer resources to help shovel sidewalks for those who can't.