Ask Minneapolis Decision Makers to Plow the Sidewalks

aerial image of man plowing sidewalk with headline "Snow or shine, everyone deserves accessible sidewalks"

Minneapolis sidewalks are covered with snow and ice for a large part of the year. While our streets are cleared by the City or by the state department of transportation, individual property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks. Unfortunately, this is a system that just does not work. If a single property owner fails to clear their sidewalk, an entire block can become impassable.

As a result of your advocacy, the Minneapolis City Council included a budget amendment to provide ~$600k to fund sidewalk plowing for the pedestrian priority network, a pilot program starting this year. This is a step in the right direction, but we need to continue to advocate for sidewalk plowing for all municipal sidewalks.

This is an equity issue. People who have restricted mobility and disabled people cannot access destinations and as a result, leading to a reduced quality of life in winter. The ability to comfortably walk and roll in our communities should not be seasonal; it is a basic right.

Prior to the budget amendment funding, the City of Minneapolis carried out a winter sidewalk maintenance study. This study evaluated several options for clearing sidewalks, ranging from increasing public awareness to creating a city-led program to shovel sidewalks. Minneapolis also increased enforcement of sidewalks that were not being shoveled. However, those measures did not result in clearer sidewalks. In the last six winters alone, there have been over 30,000 submitted complaints of uncleared sidewalks. We cannot fine our way out of this issue.

The study determined that after initial equipment investment, the estimated cost of municipal sidewalk plowing is less than $20 million per year.

We are asking City of Minneapolis decision makers, including Mayor Frey, the City Council, and Public Works Director Anderson Kelliher, to fully fund a municipal sidewalk plowing program in the 2025 City budget.

This program will have the following benefits:

  • Open up city destinations to people walking and rolling throughout the winter, especially for disabled and elderly community members
  • Ensure that street corners and transit stops are properly cleared, improving access to local businesses
  • Remove the disproportionate impact of sidewalk shoveling enforcement on people of color, people of low income, and disabled people
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance the City’s goal to have 3 of every 5 trips be by walking, rolling, bicycling, or transit by 2030

We'll be organizing throughout the year to fund a city-wide sidewalk plowing program in the 2025 budget. Join us in asking for this program by sending an email to City leaders and posting your photos on social media using the tag #PlowMPLSSidewalks

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