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

New York City Councilman David Greenfield (D-Borough Park) is proposing a new law regarding snow removal for commercial and residential properties to protect pedestrians from accidents related to unshoveled sidewalks.

In a press release published Tuesday, Councilman Greenfield proposes using the city’s public employees to shovel the walkways, then bill the property owner $250 or more for the removal depending on the size of the property needing to be cleared.

If a property owner fails to clear the sidewalk within four hours after a snowstorm, the current fines start at $100, however the sidewalks typically remain unshoveled even after tickets are issued, causing a safety hazard to pedestrians.

Councilman Greenfield hopes his new proposal helps to meet the goal of actually clearing the sidewalks.

Currently, the city has a group of temporary laborers it uses for snow removal during major storms. Councilman Greenfield intends to expand this program with his new law.

“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.


  • 1. Shabbos wrote:

    How are people supposed to shovel on Shabbos? Greenfield is supposed to protect our religious freedoms, not persecute us.

  • 2. who gives out fines? wrote:

    I dont think people in crown heights are being fined. It is so dangerous and difficult to walk many streets here in crown height because people arent shoveling. And try pushing a carriage on the snow. Its takes forever.

  • 3. Jewish dude wrote:

    I would say no on work on sabbath and Jewish high holidays. I don’t even think we can let non Jewish people work for us unless it is a life treating emergency like doctors, ems, fire department etc who saves people from illness or hurt. Then anything is allowed year round.

  • 4. shovel wrote:

    shovel after shabbos and pour salt… and stop blaming clean up, salt your side walks

    • 5. CH bubby wrote:

      Salt only during the morning, otherwise salt melts the snow then immediately freezes, so more slippery.

      Also if only shoveling a narrow path, like just enough for one person to walk along, there’s no where for the water to go so just stays and forms puddles during the day and then freezes over at night.

  • 6. Love it! wrote:

    This is a fantastic idea. As a pedetrian, it is SO obnoxious when people don’t clear their sidewalks. There are people who haven’t cleared since the storm three weeks ago. It’s dangerous and frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slipped this winter. This would be an excellent idea. I fully support it.

  • 7. Citizen Berel wrote:

    At this point…if it’s a new law and it’s the government it’s a bad idea.

    The government wants to help…please, no, no more help.

    But the government wants to encourage people…stop right there, don’t encourage anybody.

    The government is like the tuchus of a king but without a king.

  • 8. great! wrote:

    Everyone please clean your sidewalk ice is dangerous.
    Especially those living on corner houses clean the side of your house.

  • 9. sd wrote:

    I fully support this idea ONLY if the city employees doing the shoveling are all the politicians

  • 10. more money grabbing for the city wrote:

    A lot of store owners of strapped for cash. The snowfall this winter made it very difficult to shovel. The city should take the snow and sell it to California.

  • 11. Expectations! wrote:

    As a highly expecting mommy in the community I have been homebound for most of this winter, due to the fact that in either direction of my house there are inconsiderate neighbors. I am sure Greenfield has thought of Shabbos, he is frum too… and I say I tip my sheitel to you, Mr Greenfield! The money hungry mayors will have street cleaning down to a science in no time at all!

  • 12. so not fair! wrote:

    just because i own a house it doesn’t mean that i should have to also shovel the snow!!!

    you walk there, you shovel!!!!

    just kidding, calm down…

  • 13. maybe wrote:

    maybe make a map of crown heights(street/Avenue, side’s of street/ave) were you can walk (not on snow or ice) and share it with all of us like that we wold not complain and we could plan accordingly

  • 14. CH bubby wrote:

    Great idea, but doesn’t have to be as a penalty, rather a service to the community at a reasonable charge.

    Also the city should send people to clear all street corners, and clear a narrow path along the curb which will allow water to flow down to the nearest drain.
    And when there’s repeat snow storms as we’ve had recently then to pick up some of the snow and remove altogether.

    • 16. Very Simple wrote:

      You HIRE someone to shovel your walk, and pay them for it.

      It’s worth 20 bucks to ensure that people don’t break their neck C”V on the ice outside your home.

  • 17. get the streets clean first wrote:

    The city is struggling to properly clean the streets, and keep up with the garbage removal, all this means is more fines and snowier streets.

  • 18. to: love it wrote:

    maybe you like it, but what if a family went away? or for some rreason it was impossible to clean up? there are many reasons why this ISNT good!

    • 19. No Excuses wrote:

      Being away is NOT an excuse.

      If you go away during the winter time, ask a neighbor to shovel your walk or to hire someone to shovel your walk, and pay them if necessary.


  • 21. K wrote:

    Homeowners, Shovel the sidewalk in front of your house, and do the street too – after all, it is in front of your home, just like the sidewalk!

    Homeowners, The sidewalk is yours – but you can’t use it as private property, because it belongs to the public…makes perfect sense.

    Snow on the sidewalk is a “bor birshus harabim” – the public uses the sidewalk, it is a reshus harabim, so EVERYONE is responsible for that snow…especially the people who use the sidewalk!

    But there is no “special” obligation on the homeowner. If there is, he should also do the street in front of his house!

    If you need to walk on the sidewalk and are worries about the snow, clean it YOURSELF. Why insist that the homeowner, who has nothing to do with the sidewalk, why is he responsible???

    Someone wrote, “YOUR PROPERTY – YOUR RESPONSIBILITY”, well. if it is my property – keep off it!

  • 23. stardom wrote:

    I think the city should send its workers to shovel the snow. For senior citizen homeowners who are sick or unable to do it themselves or may be in the hospital or other circumstances, this would be a great help. But just charge them $20 or $25. Why penalize them with $250. Enough taxes and penalties already!!!!!!!

  • 24. Chelsea wrote:

    I live in this neighborhood and it is a huge pain to walk anywhere, after snowfall. Try walking across that black ice under the overpass while crossing the highway. So scary! And I’m a young, able-bodied person. The many abandonded buildings that have no one to shovel the show is also a hazard. The owner of the property should come shovel it. Even if it’s the bank who owns the property. That’s how it works in the state I come from. This is just part of home ownership and it is not the responsibility of the people who walk on the sidewalk. It’s the LAW to maintain your sidewalk. You don’t like it? Wanna give me your house at the price you bought it in 1999? Sorry I was only a kid then and can now never afford to buy my own house in Crown Heights. If I had one I’d be proud to shovel it and contribute to the safety and happiness of my neighbors. Grow up and shovel. I thought religion was about being a good person. Well, making it unsafe for others to walk because of your negligence is not being a good person!


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