Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snow Removal

From the 48th Ward's newsletter:

"There is a City ordinance that requires building owners or tenants to remove the snow and ice from sidewalks in front of their buildings or vacant lots. The ordinance states that if the sidewalk is wider than five feet, only a five foot path is necessary.

"Snow that accumulates before 4:00 p.m. must be removed within three hours after the snow has fallen. Snow that accumulates after 4:00 p.m. or during the night shall be removed before 10:00 a.m. Non-compliance can result in ticketing and fines. Violations can be reported to 311."


  1. Does this apply to the subsidized housing units in the neighborhood as well? The sidewalks in front of the ones on our block (Sunnyside & Magnolia) NEVER get shoveled. I guarantee that I will be calling 311 when they don't get shoveled.

  2. So- the owners are supposed to do it, or the tenants are? That's confusingly worded.

  3. I think '311' is going to be pretty busy after people read this. So many sidewalks in Uptown never see a shovel.

  4. I wonder if they reveal your liability for someone getting hurt. At common law, you are only liable for someone injuring themselves if you actually DID shovel the snow.

  5. Nope, Falco, urban myth, or outdated law.

    Chicago Municipal Code 10-8-190 explicitly says that you cannot be sued if you put forth a good faith effort to clear your walk from snow and ice. Specifically, "any person who removes snow or ice from the public sidewalk or street, shall not, as a result of his acts or omissions in such removal, be liable for civil damages." The only time that would not apply is if the person performed "acts or omissions amounting to willful or wanton misconduct in such snow or ice removal."

    In other words, clear the walk the best you can, and you won't have to worry about lawsuits. Amazing what common courtesy will get you!

    Chicagoist (Feb 2008) is the

  6. Sorry, I meant to type "relieve" your liability. Or "I wonder if the ordinance 'relieves you of liability.' Looks like it might.

  7. Instead of the City worrying about the sidewalks, perhaps they should be concerned about the streets. The 5000 block of Kenmore still has yet to see a snow removal truck since the snow fall on Friday. Not to mention, the City's attentiveness to the alley's also has been much worse than in previous years.

    I'd like to hear more about what my tax dollars actually do, rather than worrying about ordinances what we need to do for the City.

    My venting .. and $.02

  8. Speaking of snow....
    From "Second city cop."
    Wait a Minute....
    Spending money at an airport the City doesn't even operate anymore? How is this possible?

    Chicago's Aviation Department could spend as much as $18.5 million more to keep runways clear of snow and ice at Midway and O'Hare this winter, due to the higher price of de-icing solution.

    [...] Chicago was able to secure enough de-icer for both airports, but at a price three times higher than last year, according to Aviation Department spokeswoman Karen Pride. The fluid, potassium acetate, cost the city $3.81 a gallon last year -- compared with $11.49 a gallon this year.

    Why isn't the airport consortium that purchased the operating rights to Midway supplying de-icer? Is this one of those things that lawyers stick in the contract to make it more attractive to the buyer? Kind of like those CTA bus shelters where no one but the JC Decaux company knew that they were going to be allowed to install a few hundred extra units, low-balled the competition then made out like bandits when it came time to sell advertising? Did the taxpayer just get screwed again?

  9. What about ice? There is one house on Buena by Clarendon that always has a thick layer of ice. And it's a beautiful home.

  10. this doesn't make sense at all..
    so the mayor is cutting down the snow plow trucks because of economy (putting the drivers lives at risk for slippery unsafe roads) and now you can be sued for not shoveling your front sidewalk? What if I'm driving 10-20 miles per hour and my car slid, leading to a crash.. Can I sue the city for not prioritizing safety?

  11. The snow removal ordinance is intended to promote snow removal by property owners by insulating them from liability related to their efforts to remove snow. It has been on the books quite awhile.

  12. So we have to shovel the walks by 4:00 but the Mayor will not plow sidestreets after 7:00 PM.

  13. Interestingly, and very much unlike previous years, the CHA housing on my block was one of the first homes to have its sidewalk shoveled this storm. Good for them.