Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to consider amending the city’s sidewalk snow ordinance to require shoveling whenever more than four inches of snow falls.

Currently the ordinance only requires shoveling when four inches or more of snow falls within 24 hours.


While the change would eliminate a loophole in the ordinance affecting long-duration snowfall events, it perpetuates the fallacy than only snow deeper than four inches poses a hazard to pedestrians.

Anyone who’s tried walking in Evanston in the winter knows that any amount of snow or ice left on the sidewalk poses a hazard to pedestrians and should be cleared away.

The ordinance gives property owners 24 hours  to clear snow once the depth rule is triggered.

That time limit ought apply to any snowfall event — not just one that reaches four inches or more in depth.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. agree

    It takes a lot less than 4 inches of snow to create a dangerous layer of ice on top of the sidewalk. Trying to walk around Evanston even a week after the last snowfall is dangerous.

  2. If Anyone Actually Shoveled…

    Take a walk around south Evanston after even 6 inches of snow, and you’ll notice that only a third of homeowners bother to shovel even then. Maybe the city should try enforcing the 4 inches rule first before they make it even harsher… 

    1. Complain …

      As with so many other things, action by the city about unshoveled walks is a complaint-driven process.

      So, if you want the existing rule enforced, you need to call in complaints to 311.

      — Bill

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