It’s the law: Snow removal rules support disabled Northlanders

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 7:01 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - In the winter months, it’s easy to let shoveling fall to the bottom of the to-do list, but for some, a clear sidewalk makes a world of a difference.

Residents and businesses are responsible for keeping sidewalks clear for everyone.

“That could be a wheelchair, that could be a bike, that could be a stroller,” said Kate Van Daele with the City of Duluth. “We really have an obligation to make sure that everyone can get around.”

Last year the City of Duluth implemented a snow removal policy.

Residents and businesses have 24 hours after the snow stops to clear their sidewalks or face fines.

That’s because, for residents with a disability, an un-shoveled sidewalk is a big hurdle.

According to advocacy groups like The Minnesota Council on Disability, snow-covered sidewalks are not just an inconvenience; they can also be dangerous.

In some cases, people who can’t navigate the sidewalks will travel in the streets and increase their chances of being hit by a vehicle.

Groups remind businesses to make sure ramps are shoveled, pre-treat for ice, and keep disability parking areas snow-free.

It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s the law.

“We’re just asking people to consider doing what is best not only for them, what is a requirement, and also just help people get around,” said Van Daele.

If a resident or business you know is not complying with Duluth’s snow removal policy, you can find resources here.

The city said they are stepping up enforcement this year.

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