Property Owners are Required by City Ordinance to Clear Snow from Sidewalks
The Department of Public Works will clear streets as soon as possible after a snow storm, starting with major arteries. Your patience and participation help the City return streets and sidewalks to safe, passable conditions as quickly as possible.
Property Owners are Required by City Ordinance to Clear Snow from Adjacent Sidewalks
City Ordinance requires property owners to remove snow from sidewalks next to their property or business within 12 hours of daytime snowfall and before 1 p.m. when it has fallen overnight. They must also remove or melt all ice within 6 hours of the time it forms. There is a $50 fine for each day of non-compliance. If you are away, it is still your responsibility to ensure that someone clears sidewalks next to your property. Remember to:
- Shovel your sidewalk on all sides of your property, including corners, down to bare pavement
- Clear snow to curb to avoid placing trash and recycling containers behind snow banks
- Make path at least 3 feet wide (to enable a baby carriage or wheelchair to pass through)
- Clear ramps at corners and crosswalks
- Chop or melt all ice
- Clear snow from street drains
- Consider helping neighbors who may have difficulty clearing their walk.
Please note that residents may not use objects such as trash/recycling barrels, furniture items or any other item to save parking spots on public streets. These items will be treated as trash and disposed of by DPW crews.
Three ways to report a sidewalk that is not shoveled:
All reports will be inspected by the Traffic Dept. or Public Works staff and a ticket will be issued to the property owner if found to be in violation of the Snow Ordinance.
Snow Exemption Program
Cambridge operates a Snow Exemption Program for eligible seniors and people with disabilities who are low-income homeowners. Call the Cambridge Council on Aging at 617-349-6220 (voice) or 617-349-6050 (TTY) to learn more.
Hubway Bike Share System Updates: Call 1-855-448-2929 or Visit https://thehubway.com/news
Safety Tips from Cambridge Fire Dept:
- Help keep your family and neighbors safe by assisting in clearing snow from hydrants.
- Parking is restricted at all times within 20 feet of an intersection; this is especially important during snow conditions.
- Be aware that Fire, Rescue and EMS vehicles are larger than passenger cars. Leave adequate room for passage of Emergency vehicles on all right of ways.
- Structures with direct vent boilers have exhaust and air intakes that need to be clear of snow to prevent possible carbon monoxide issues.
Preventing Ice, Protecting Pedestrians and Local Waterways
For pedestrians, ice can cause dangerous falls and can be worse than snow. Under City Ordinance, property owners are responsible for both ice and snow.
While rock salt is the most commonly used deicer, if used improperly it can damage water bodies, ground water and vegetation. Many alternatives and supplements to salt can be found at your local hardware store, including magnesium chloride, potassium acetate, calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) and potassium chloride. These chemicals tend to be more efficient, thereby reducing the amount needed. CMA has been identified as the most environmentally benign deicer.
To minimize harm to human health, wildlife, pets and the environment, including the Charles River and Alewife Brook, follow the strategies below when applying any deicing agents:
- Remove as much snow and ice as possible before applying deicing chemicals;
- Know the effective temperatures for each deicer used (many don’t work well below 25F), and use only enough to break the ice-pavement bond;
- Remove slush by shoveling;
- Select pellets, which are more effective at penetrating ice than flakes;
- Apply the least amount necessary to get the job done;
- Store salt and other products on an impervious surface and in a dry, covered area to prevent ground contamination and stormwater runoff;
- Do not use sand. Sand does not melt ice or snow, and it makes hard ice more slippery. Sand also gets into street drains and is expensive to clean up in the spring.
For more ways to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff, visit: www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/ourservices/stormwatermanagement.aspx.
For more information, or to report an unshoveled or icy sidewalk, call 617-349-4903; use Cambridge iReport app on your smartphone or visit www.cambridgema.gov/snow.