Property Owner Responsibility

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When it snows or is icy this winter, please think about all the people who might be using your sidewalk and the challenges they may face if snow or ice is not fully cleared.

City Ordinance requires that all property owners:

        Remove snow from all sidewalks next to their property or business within 12 hours after snow stops falling in the daytime, and before 1 p.m. when the snow has fallen during the night.  
        Remove or melt all ice within 6 hours of the time the ice forms. 
        The path on shoveled sidewalks must be wide enough for someone using a wheelchair, walker, or stroller (at least 3 feet, preferably 4 feet wide).
        Corner properties must clear sidewalks on all sides surrounding the property and clear ramps at cross-walks.

The fine for failing to comply with the City’s sidewalk clearance ordinances is $50/day for each day of non-compliance.  Even if you aren’t around, it is your responsibility to ensure someone clears sidewalks and ramps next to your property.

How to be sure you are in compliance with the Ordinance.


There is help for low-income homeowners who are elderly and/or have a disability.  If you are a homeowner on a low income, ($23,475 or less for a one-person household in 2012) and you are elderly or have a disability, you might qualify for the City's Snow Exemption Program (in which case the City will shovel your sidewalk).  To apply, call the Council on Aging (617.349.6220 (voice) or 617.349.6050.  If you do not qualify, the Council on Aging can provide you with a limited list of professional snow removal companies and a list of students who want to earn money by shoveling - you can contact the student yourself and negotiate a price.

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


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