City officials are asking residents to clear their sidewalks of the snow that hit town a few days back.

The snowfall was less than four inches — the point at which a city ordinance kicks in providing fines for failing to clear your walk within 24 hours of the end of a storm.

But Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says it’s still important to clear the walks so that everybody, including persons with disabilities and the elderly, can travel freely.

With remaining snow now packed down amid unusually cold temperatures, sand and salt may be the best options for making the walks safer for pedestrians.

There have also been reports that some residents who haven’t cleared their walks have received nasty-grams from the post office — saying they’ll get no more mail delivery until their walks are safe for letter carriers.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. What is the city ordinance?

    What is the city ordinance? I’ve lived here 6 yrs and Bennison’s Bakery does not shovel their southwest walk, only the walk in front of store. This sidewalk turns to ice every winter and peds have to walk in street. Today I saw a senior citizen with cane and oxygen tank try to navigate sidewalk. Ridiculous

    1. Pound the counter

      You need to walk right in to Bennison and pound the counter and ask for an explanation.  I have to do this several times a year, Jewel on Chicago was terrible at cleaning it’s walks, and people will swear that they didn’t know they had to do it.  Of course, the parking lots were pristine. 

      Two years ago I was giving Whole Foods on Chicago grief nearly every day and I kept being told that it was the building owners responsibility.  I kept telling them no, if it’s your customers who are walking into the store via Church Street during the day, it’s your responsibility.


      1. I agree–don’t patronize the stores that jeopardize your safety

        You are right– the Jewel on Chicago used to be terrible about cleaning the walks, especially on Chi Ave south of the entrance driveway.  About 7-8 years ago I witnessed a senior citizen fall and break an arm on what was a treacherous icy sidewalk there.  I went in to speak to the manager and was told that they were short staffed and couldn’t handle the shoveling.  This was absurd, because their no-shovel policy had been going on for years.  I said they had lost a customer and have been in the store maybe 3 times since. There are many other stores with similar attitudes, including the $hell station right across the street where for the past 15 years they have plowed their snow off of the area around the pumps and right onto the sidewalks.  Management there has been completely unresponsive to the problem. 

        Some may view this as selective enforcement of an existing law, but to me it is a matter of public safety.  If homeowners and businesses don’t care if someone falls and is injured on their sidewalk, maybe they need a little nudge in order to be a good neighbor.

    2. Bennison’s does not have a

      Bennison’s does not have a southwest walk. One side faces north, the other east. The east side is not shoveled and it should.

  2. Greedy pig

    Oh, please. This is the first time I’ve ever seen the city do this in the decade I’ve lived here. Gee. I wonder why? The greedy pig is hungry. The greedy pig wants to be fed. Oink. Oink.

    This also points out the lunacy of randomly enforced laws. Let’s pass this just in case we need it one day. The longer you live in Evanston the greater the appeal of limited government.

  3. So how about it, Evanston…

    … how about actually enforcing the ordinance?  As a runner who has logged thousands of winter miles on Evanston sidewalks over the past two decades, I have seen the same homes and businesses ignore the law year after year.  Some literally never make any attempt to remove snow or ice all winter long.  How often have these folks even received a reminder or warning from the city?  I would love to see statistics showing exactly how many citations have been issued over years.  I bet they could be counted on your fingers.

    So how about it?  Why doesn’t our cash-strapped community make an effort to generate a little revenue and make the sidewalks safer for pedestrians at the same time?

  4. Get busy downtown too

    Hey, City of Evanston … your sidewalks need clearing too. I wholeheartedly agree that residential property owners should be responsible for getting snow and ice off their sidewalks in the midst of, and after, every snowfall. But downtown sidewalks require the same attention, and it isn’t happening. Empty storefronts mean sidewalks that get more icy and dangerous with each passing day after a storm. No one is taking responsibility. Someone should.

  5. Vacancies and Foreclosures

    As someone who walks, I was amazed on Monday to see the number of untouched walks, filled with ice and snow, but with a clean shoveled path from door to street. 

    But I also saw a number of houses that looked vacant.  I wonder how many more of these there are?  I know of one house around the corner that has never had a for sale sign on it that’s in foreclosure proceedings.  The city had to send a youth team to do yard work to clean leaves and cut grass as the property was looking very bad.  Is there a plan for winter snows?

  6. Shoveling snow

    Could we also make District 65 shovel the snow around school grounds? The sidewalks around Nichols Middle School are dangerous!

  7. Shovelling your snow

    I am sure we can all cite examples of businesses and individuals who shrik this important wintertime responsibility.  Then there is the myth that if you do nothing you are not liable – which is simply NOT TRUE!  As a rental property owner fronting on a major pathway to public transportation, I take snow removal very seriously – not only as a neighborhood relations situation but because it is the right thing to do!

    I feel strongly that the City should rigorously enforce this ordinance – taking special consideration for Senior Citizens and after a warning notice, a fine… after the fine (if no compliance) send a crew (of youth employees) over to shovel, salt  and finally bill for resonable costs!

    Problem solved! (and a potentially useful revenue source)

    Respectfully submitted, Brian Becharas 619 Oakton St…


  8. I meant southwest corner of

    I meant southwest corner of intersection, thanks for correction. Maybe they’ll shovel after they get hit with worker’s comp claim when a worker falls while taking out garbage or loading delivery van.

  9. Sidewalk at the Dempter “el” stop

    Who is responsible for clearing the sidewalk from the Dempster "el" stop entrance on Sherman, north to Greenwood?  It is treachous, covered with ice throughout the winter.  I take my life in my hands as I walk in the street, parallel to the sidewalk.

    Who tickets the violators?  I asked a police officer at the Dempster stop who was responsible for shoveling that walk and he said he didn’t know! So who would he ticket if he doesn’t know who is liable?

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