Alderman cracking down on un-shoveled sidewalks, residents ticketed

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CHICAGO — Temps in Chicago have been below freezing since last weekend’s winter storm. Any snow and ice that wasn’t cleared right away is frozen. And now some residents are paying for it.

People are forced to hop-scotch down the sidewalk in West Englewood to avoid patches of snow and ice.

Alderman Raymond Lopez of the 15th Ward is cracking down.

“It poses a double hazard because people don’t know if they’re walking on snow or a sheet of ice covered in snow,” he said.

It’s not only a safety hazard, it’s illegal.

The city’s snow clearing ordinance requires property owners to clear a path at least five feet wide on all sidewalks adjacent to their property.

“Every year we’ve had issues with residents who just refuse to shovel,” Lopez said. “And after Saturdays snow and freezing rain we started getting phone calls again.”

Chicago’s Department of Transportation has received more than 3400 complaints since October 1.

Lopez is taking them seriously. He’s issued nearly 60 citations in the past two days.

“This is an enforcement action we’re taking this week to protect our residents,” Lopez said. “This is not about generating money. This is about changing behavior. … Snow is not something that’s new to Chicago. We all know how to act. We all know what to do and what our responsibilities are. This is reminding people that you have responsibilities to be good neighbors in your community.”

Residents can report areas that haven’t been shoveled through the 311 system.

Tickets range from $50 to $500.

The city can come back and issue another ticket, every 24 hours.

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