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Syracuse narrows options for sidewalk snow removal

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
Snow covered sidewalks in Syracuse.

Residents in the city of Syracuse recently weighed in on what they want the city to do about snow covered sidewalks. Now the city has outlined options to address the problem.

Corey Driscoll Dunham, Syracuse’s director of operations, said the feedback from the city’s snow safety summit shows people want the city to take a more active role in sidewalk snow removal and they said they are willing to pay a fee for it. Dunham said the city has three options: citywide municipal sidewalk snow removal, priority area snow removal, or an enhanced ordinance and city approved contractors.

"We want to really explore all the different options and see in terms of costs, in terms of feasibility, in terms of  operations, whether or not we have a market here in terms of contractors willing to do that," Dunham said. 

The first option clears every sidewalk in the city. The second focuses on the high pedestrian traffic areas. And the third includes an enhanced ordinance with fines and city approved contractors for those who cannot clear their sidewalks. Property owners in Syracuse are required to remove snow from their sidewalks, but there is no penalty if they do not.  

"It's cost and operations," Dunham said. "Those are the two things that it's going to come down to. How do we do it? What's equitable? What's fair? What will cover the costs? We need to do a real cost analysis, feasibility assessment because obviously there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered, that we need to really determine for those three options. But that's pretty much what we've come down to, given all the feedback we've received."

Driscoll said the city also wants to address the maintenance and repair of sidewalks as well. She said they are working with the Syracuse Common Council to pass legislation this spring.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.