Residents: Clear your sidewalks, city says

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published February 7, 2018

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SOUTHFIELD — If Punxsutawney Phil was correct, we’re in for a lot more winter weather. 

Earlier this month, the city launched an effort to remind residents that it’s their responsibility to keep the sidewalks in front of their homes free and clear of ice and snow. 

While the city is responsible for clearing snow and ice from the roads, it is not responsible for sidewalks and curb cuts in front of homes, officials said. 

Community Relations Director Michael Manion said the reminder didn’t stem from any specific issues, but city officials want to ensure residents’ safety. 

“We want to remind them we need to keep (sidewalks) clean for the kids walking to school or the senior citizens walking to the store or for anybody that could slip and fall,” Manion said. 

According to the city code, homeowners and renters are responsible for clearing the snow and ice from their sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall. The code also states that walkways, driveways, parking lots and other common areas must be kept free of snow and ice to prevent accidents and injuries. 

Manion said that while shoveling and salting may be an inconvenience, skipping it can pose a safety hazard.

“Michigan winters can be difficult enough without having to traverse snow- and ice-covered walkways,” Manion said in an email. “By city ordinance, all residents — whether homeowners or renters — and businesses are expected to clear sidewalks after every snowfall in a timely manner. This is especially important to avoid injury of students as they walk to and from school, as well as all other pedestrians.”

Justin Beck, streets and highways supervisor for the Southfield Public Works Department, said it’s important for residents to remember the proper way to shovel their driveways and sidewalks. 

“Another helpful tip for residents is do not shovel or blow snow into the roads,” Beck said. “Instead, clear driveway approaches from left to right if facing the road, so the snow they’ve just cleared will not end up back in their driveway in the event of subdivision plowing.”

Beck also said residents should refrain from parking on the street during snow events of 4 inches or more. 

For Southfield’s aging population, snow and ice can bring a whole set of challenges. 

Manion said there are city resources available for those who may need them through the city’s Chore program.  

The Chore program helps income-qualified seniors maintain their homes. The program is funded by Community Development Block Grant money. Seniors receive assistance with lawn care, snow removal, window and gutter cleaning, minor plumbing, and furnace and electrical repairs, according to the city’s website. Seniors must meet federal Department of Housing and Urban Development income guidelines. 

Being a good neighbor could also be lifesaving this time of year, Manion said. 

“If you have a neighbor who is elderly or physically incapable of clearing their sidewalks, please consider lending them a helping hand,” Manion said in an email. “It’s all part of the Southfield standard of common courtesy, because good neighbors make great communities.”

For more information on the Chore program, call (248) 796- 4178.