Clearing sidewalks in Minneapolis

When it snows, make sure to clear your sidewalks of snow and ice to keep them accessible to all and avoid the cost of the City to clear it for you.


Why is it important to have clear sidewalks?

Minneapolis has a robust network of sidewalks and trails, and it is important to have clear and accessible sidewalks in our city year-round. If sidewalks are not cleared in the winter, it can be a problem for residents and visitors to walk to everyday destinations. It is also especially challenging for people with disabilities and mobility challenges to get around when sidewalks aren’t clear of snow and ice.

It's the law

  • Minneapolis Ordinance 445.20 requires that property owners clear sidewalks after the end of a snowfall.
  • Single family homes and duplexes must have their snow cleared within 24 hours after a snowfall has ended.
  • All other properties must have their snow cleared within four daytime hours (daytime hours are defined as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Report uncleared sidewalks to the City

  • Report snow and ice on sidewalks online.
  • Call 311 to make a report.
  • Text "sidewalks" to 311-TXT (311-898)
  • Are there neighbors on your street who are elderly, have a disability or may have a hard time shoveling for any reason? Work with your neighbors to give a hand and ensure your entire block is safe and accessible to all. 311 also has a list of resources they can connect residents with if they need extra help.

Proactive sidewalk clearing enforcement

  • What is the Proactive Sidewalk Inspection Project? The City continues to get more intentional on enforcing the rules. In addition to relying on complaints reported to 311, inspectors will also be out in every neighborhood actively looking for sidewalks that aren’t shoveled.
  • What is the purpose of this project? To gather information on compliance of sidewalk snow and ice clearing, to inspect sidewalks and to report current violations of the sidewalk snow and ice ordinance so conditions can be remedied and the sidewalks can be accessible to everyone.
  • Why? Minneapolis sidewalks need to be accessible to everyone in the winter. Many in our community rely heavily on walking to get to work, school, errands, appointments and more. If property owners don’t clear sidewalks they can become treacherous and even impassable, especially to people who have difficulty moving around. We are inspecting to make sure sidewalks are passable.
  • How often will you be inspecting? Because residents have 24 hours to clear their sidewalks, we will start inspecting 24 hours after each 1” or more snow fall has finished.
  • What if I don’t remove snow/ice from the sidewalk: Properties in violation of the sidewalk clearing rules will receive a notice by letter and will be given a chance to clear their sidewalk of snow and ice. If the follow up inspection shows that the sidewalk is still not clear, crews will be dispatched to remove the snow/ice at an estimated cost of $239.00 per visit. If the bill is not paid by the property owner, it will be assessed on the property owner’s tax roll.

Sidewalk Clearing Basics

  • Shovel the entire width of the sidewalk on all sides of your property down to bare pavement. When conditions cause bonded snowpack or ice that can’t be immediately removed, it is acceptable to shovel as best you can, then sprinkle a little sand to provide traction until conditions improve and you can fully remove it. Pile snow into your yard and boulevard. It’s against the law to shovel snow into streets and alleys.
  • If you have a corner property, clear pedestrian ramps at the street corners and crosswalks to the street gutter. You are not required to clear snow ridges or piles left by the plows beyond the gutter. City crews will return to do this work as quickly as possible, but with some 16,000 corners to clear across the City, it will not be done the same day. Shoveling to create clear access to pedestrian ramps sooner is always appreciated, but not required.
  • You are responsible for your sidewalk throughout the winter, not just immediately after a snowfall. When temperatures rise above freezing, snow and ice on or adjacent to sidewalks will melt and often flow onto or across the sidewalk. When temperatures drop back below freezing, the remaining water on the sidewalk refreezes and results in icy sidewalk conditions. It is important for property owners to address sidewalks even without a precipitation event.
  • The sooner and more completely you shovel, the less likely it is that the snow will become compacted ice which is much more difficult to remove.
  • Arrange for someone to shovel whenever you are away.
  • Shovel around your garbage carts and recycling bins. If you don't, the City will do it for you and charge a fee. For information, see Solid Waste & Recycling.

Help with snow clearing this winter

  • For help shoveling your sidewalk, please see the list of businesses that provide sidewalk snow shoveling services in Minneapolis.
  • The City offers free sidewalk sand for Minneapolis residents.
  • There are some members of our community that may need a little extra help this season. Snow removal is a significant issue for the City and for all Minneapolis residents, and it can be especially challenging for seniors and those with disabilities. To get a list of available services, contact 311. Please note that some of these resources are limited by geographic location, availability, and other criteria such as minimum age.
  • Do you want to help others? There are several organizations that you can connect with to be part of this effort. Contact 311 for a list.

Snow Shoveling Video Translations

Snow Shoveling Letter Translations

Last updated Dec 2, 2019



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