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Got Unplowed Sidewalks in Your Neighborhood? Here's What to Do

By  Nicole Levy and Jeff Mays | January 26, 2016 7:27am 

 Pedestrians had to navigate huge piles of snow on street corners Monday after the weekend's historic blizzard. Corner property owners or renters were responsible for clearing a path.
Pedestrians had to navigate huge piles of snow on street corners Monday after the weekend's historic blizzard. Corner property owners or renters were responsible for clearing a path.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

If you're as angry as this Park Slope resident at neighbors and local businesses whose adjacent sidewalks remain un-shoveled after the weekend's historic blizzard, Mayor Bill de Blasio is on your side.

The mayor promised to crack down on businesses caught in violation at a press conference Monday morning. 

"You have an obligation to shovel out enough of your sidewalk so people can pass," de Blasio said. “We’re going to definitely be focusing today on businesses that aren't doing that — we will be applying fines to any business that does not shovel out.”

What's the basis for those fines?

According to the New York City administrative code, every owner, property manager, tenant or other individual in charge of a lot or building must clean snow and ice from the sidewalks in front, on the side of and in back of their properties within a certain time frame. 

In the case of this weekend's record-setting blizzard, the snow officially stopped at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, according to officials at the city's Department of Sanitation. That means that your neighbors and your local bodega owner had until 11 a.m. Monday to clean their sidewalks. Now they'll have to face the wrath of the city’s enforcement agents, who hand-write summonses to "snow scofflaws" across the five boroughs, the Daily News reported in 2014.

Just how much do you have to cough up if you fail to clear your sidewalk of snow and ice?

Those who don't comply with city law can be fined $100 to $150 for their first offense, $150 to $350 for their second, and $250 to $350 for their third or subsequent offense. They're also legally liable for any injuries that pedestrians or their property suffer on the un-shoveled sidewalks for which they're responsible.

What constitutes a satisfactorily clean sidewalk?

"You don't need to clear your whole sidewalk," de Blasio explained Monday. "We want people to clear about 3 or 4 feet, enough that someone with a baby stroller can get through or somebody in a wheelchair can get through."

The Department of Sanitation instructs corner property owners and lessees to clear a path and disperse water from any area where melted snow has formed a puddle from the nearest crosswalk.

"This will help people in wheelchairs, people with children in strollers, students going to school, and individuals with mobility-assistance devices," an agency guide to snow removal reads. 

The city's administrative code also says you're responsible for clearing snow from fire hydrants near your property.

If you seen a snowy stretch of sidewalk in your neighborhood that hasn't been cleaned in a timely fashion, what do you do about it?

You can register a complaint for a specific address online or by calling 311.

Who's responsible for cleaning the snow piles in front of the two houses de Blasio owns and leases out in Park Slope? 

It's the renters, the mayor said. Don't expect to see him lifting a shovel in Brooklyn this week