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Syracuse lawmakers pass sidewalk snow removal plan

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo

Updated at 10:30 a.m. Friday

Syracuse Common Councilors passed a Walsh Administration proposal today to clear snow from sidewalks in targeted high trafficked areas in Syracuse. The vote was 6-1. Councilor Joe Carni voted against it, saying while he is in support of the idea of the city removing snow from sidewalks, he said the lack of a general liability policy could leave the city vulnerable. 

Original Story

Syracuse has been looking for a way to deal with sidewalks clogged with snow for years. The latest plan creates a pilot program that hires an outside vendor to clear about 40 miles of heavily trafficked sidewalks. It’s taken a while to get going. After a last minute deal in December, the contractor, B and T Landscaping, backed out of negotiations.

The city now has an agreement with a snow removal company called JSK Snow Services. Common Councilor Michael Greene said he’ll support the deal, and expects things will be easier going forward.  

"I think going through this process this year, we’re going to learn some things," Greene said. "And we’re going to learn to do it better. Because I think that’s the ultimate goal. We want to make sure that over the long term, we have a sustainable plan to make the city walkable.”

The company will use sidewalk plows after three inches of snow has fallen, in specific city quadrants.  Syracuse's Director of Initiatives Greg Loh said plowing could begin February 1. Loh emphasized this is a supplemental plowing program.

"We do want the message for people to take away that all of us as property owners maintain responsibility for clearing sidewalks in front of our properties, and we will even if the supplemental pilot is built upon in the future," Loh said. "That’s the way it is handled in other cities, and Syracuse will follow that model.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.