SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As cities and towns removed snow from the roads, business and property owners were encouraged to clear walkways. Making sure your sidewalk is clear of snow and ice is a requirement and if you fail to do so, you could be fined.
With the arrival of snow comes a need for safety precautions. Clearing snow out of walkways is required to prevent injury. Here in the Commonwealth, it’s up to individual cities or towns to decide their requirements.
In Springfield, you could face a $50 fine for not clearing out your sidewalk. Springfield Police Spokesperson Ryan Walsh says you do have some time, though, before that’s enforced.
“That time-frame doesn’t begin until 24 hours after a storm ends. When you’re shoveling your sidewalks, whether it’s the property owner or your landlord that’s responsible for it, also do not shovel the snow into the street. That could lead to a fine, make sure it’s on to your property,” said Walsh.
In addition to those fines, as a property owner you’re also liable if anyone were to ever get injured on your property because you didn’t shoveled.
Orlando Ayala of Springfield told 22News, “I walked on my own property before and if I don’t do it, I’ll slip. So if you don’t want to get a lawsuit against you, you have to do your property, if you’re the owner of the property.”
Beyond avoiding fines or lawsuits, keeping sidewalks clear is essential during emergencies.
“If there’s ever a medical emergency and you need access, we’re going to have to access your driveway, access your doors. And again, the sidewalks, getting to and from, if we have to wheel a stretcher, a chair,” said West Springfield Fire Lt. Tony Spear.
Lt. Spear also emphasized the importance of cleaning off fire hydrants because every second counts in an emergency. It’s also a good idea to clean the snow off of your car before driving.