City of Madison

Former City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

Former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's Blog

Shoveling Out & Helping Out

December 9, 2009 12:13 PM

Under normal conditions, city ordinance requires property owners to have the public walks in front of their properties cleared by noon on the day after a storm. But given the severity of this storm, City Building Inspector George Hank and I have moved that deadline back to 8:00a.m. on Friday.

We're also hard at work getting the sidewalks cleared on the city's own property, but I want to make a point about that. We don't have the policy requiring property owners to clear their sidewalks for the city. The policy is in place so that your neighbors can use the sidewalks. Building Inspection enforces the ordinance for citizens, not for the city. So, while we'll do our best to get city-owned sidewalks cleared by eight o'clock on Friday morning, that's not really relevant to the need to clear our walks as city residents. We don't owe it to the city; we owe it to our neighbors.

We also need to get our cars out of our driveways, and that's going to be a challenge. Our Madison plow operators are working hard to clear our streets, but one thing they can't do is defy the laws of physics. The snow has to go somewhere, and there's just no way to keep some of it out of your driveway. Unfortunately, this is pretty heavy snow and with a relatively high water content, it will freeze solid if you don't get at it today. I also can't guarantee you won't have to clear it more than once as we may need to get through residential streets twice during this huge storm.

For both sidewalk shoveling and clearing our driveways, we need to look after ourselves and our neighbors. If you're elderly or have a health limitation, please seek help from a neighbor or by calling one of the numbers below. And the city can be lenient on the clearing time for those who need it. More details on sidewalk clearing are available here:

Please help neighbors who might need it. Neighborhood associations might consider organizing help through their listserves. And you can volunteer through one of the agencies listed below.

If we look out for one another, we'll get through this together.

Madison Senior Center 266-6581
Area Agency on Aging 261-9930
East Madison/Monona Senior Coalition 233-3100
North /Eastside Senior Coalition 243-5252
South Madison Coalition 251-8405
West Madison Senior Coalition 238-7368


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