Follow Philadelphia’s Snow Removal Law To Avoid A Fine And To Stay Safe

  • January 30, 2014
  • Blog

How much time do you have to remove snow from your sidewalk in Philadelphia?

You have six (6) hours from the time snow stops falling to clear your sidewalk in Philadelphia.

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Philadephia snow removal code

The City’s law states within six (6) hours after the snow stops falling, a path no less than 36 inches wide has to be cleared of snow and ice from sidewalks and curb cuts.

If the width of your pavement from the property line to the curb is less than three (3) feet the path cleared may be 12 inches in width.

Philadelphia’s snow removal law is in Philadelphia Code Section 10-720

Homeowners should know Philadelphia’s snow removal law in order to stay safe and avoid fines.

This snow removal law requires homeowners and business to promptly remove snow from sidewalks within six (6) hours following a storm. This is done to protect pedestrians and others who may need to walk on the sidewalk or on your property.

Even if you do remove snow and ice from your property, it is important to remember that you cannot place or pile snow from your property in the street. This interferes with traffic and you can receive a fine.

Can you be fined in Philadelphia for not shoveling your sidewalk?

Yes. The City can fine a homeowner for failing to comply with the snow removal code.

The penalty for violating this provision can range from a minimum fine of fifty dollars ($50) to no more than three hundred dollars ($300) for each violation.

Failing to clear snow and ice also leaves you vulnerable to a lawsuit

If you own a property you should keep it safe. Removing snow and ice promptly in accordance with Philadelphia code will help protect you from being sued.

In Philadelphia, people can sue a property owner for negligence if the owner fails to properly remove snow and ice from a sidewalk. If an owner allows snow and ice to accumulate on a sidewalk and someone later falls on that snow or ice, the owner may be liable for that person's injuries and damages.

Given that Philadelphia's local code requires property owners to clear a walkway within six (6) hours after snow stops falling, you should comply with this legal requirement.

If you follow the City code, you can avoid any fines from the city and protect yourself from lawsuits.

Tips for shoveling snow

Shoveling snow is important but it can be a lot of work. Not only that, it is important to remember that over-exerting yourself can be dangerous.

Here are some helpful tips for safely removing snow from your sidewalk:

  • Do not over-exert yourself. Take frequent breaks and do not push yourself too hard.
  • Protect your heart. People with heart disease or medical conditions should seek assistance.
  • Stretch. Stretching before shoveling can help protect you from injury.
  • Use an appropriate shovel. Use a shovel that is specifically designed for shoveling snow. Plastic shovels can also be lighter than metal ones.
  • Push snow instead of lifting snow. Lifting can put greater stress on your body. Try to push snow off of a surface and use the shovel as a plow.
  • Lift with your legs. If you must lift snow, use your legs. Using your legs to lift will help protect your back from injury.
  • Limit the load. Do not try to lift or push more than a certain amount at a time. Shovel a reasonable amount. Trying to lift or push too much snow at once can lead to injury.
  • Break it up. Consider doing multiple runs throughout a snowfall so you do not have to shovel as much once the snow stops.
  • Dress in layers. Wear layers so you can remove some as you warm up while shoveling. Be aware of the signs of frostbite and protect your ears, fingers, and toes.
  • Help those in need. Remember to help neighbors who may need assistance. This can include the elderly and people with disabilities.
  • Do not throw snow into the street. This can result in a fine and interferes with traffic.

Following these tips can help reduce the risk of injury or harm while shoveling. They can also help make shoveling somewhat easier.

Tips for salting your sidewalk

Using salt or a melting agent on your sidewalk can help remove snow and ice. It can also help prevent precipitation from refreezing and causing a slipping hazard.

You should use salt or another melting agent to help keep your sidewalk as safe as possible after a storm.

Here are some helpful tips for using salt on your sidewalk:

  • Salt before the storm. Consider putting down a layer of salt or melting agent before the snow starts. If you know snow or ice will fall, putting a layer of salt down ahead of time can help melt lighter accumulations or reduce any slippery conditions.
  • Remove snow before next applying salt. If snow has fallen you want to remove it down to the surface of the sidewalk before applying more salt or a melting agent.
  • Apply an even layer of salt. Once you remove the snow, apply a thin, even layer of salt or ice melt over the sidewalk.
  • Use the right tools or equipment. Salt or ice melt can be applied to smaller areas using a cup and bucket. For larger areas, consider using a dedicated lawn fertilizer spreader to evenly apply salt. This can make salting a larger sidewalk easier.
  • Use gloves. Wear gloves to help protect your hands from the cold and from the salt or chemicals you are using.
  • Inspect the property regularly. It is wise to perform repeated inspections of your sidewalk to make sure the salt or ice melt is working. Look for any spots that were missed so you can apply salt t those areas. Re-salt as necessary to keep the sidewalk clear and free of re-freezing water.
  • Be aware of problem areas. Certain areas may be uneven and collect puddles which could later freeze. Apply salt as need to these problem spots. Also, be aware of which areas may not get as much direct sunlight and treat them appropriately.
  • Follow instructions. Use salt or ice melt as directed. Follow instructions as provided by the manufacturer to maximize its effect.

At what temperature is salt no longer effective?

According to Cargill, a company that provides winter road maintenance, rock salt can still melt ice down to -6 0F. However, Cargill noted that the more effective temperature range for salt is when the temperature is at least 15 0F or even 20 0F.

Salt (sodium chloride) may still work and melt ice at temperatures between 0 0F or 20 0F. However, the colder it gets the longer it takes for salt to melt ice.

Also, you need more salt to treat the same area as it gets colder. At 30 0F, 1 pound of salt will melt about 46 pounds of ice. However, when the temperatures drops to 20 0F, 1 pound of salt will only melt about 9 pounds of ice.

If you are in an area where the temperature is regularly below 15 degrees, there are other alternatives to salt that may be more effective.

These alternatives include magnesium chloride and calcium chloride. These melting agents can still melt ice when the temperature drops below 15 degrees.

Magenesium chloride may still be effective at temperatures down to -20 to -25 degrees.

Keep your property safe. Use the appropriate melting agent to help melt snow and ice and to keep it from refreezing. This will help protect the public and will held shield you from lawsuits.

About Mattiacci Law

Mattiacci Law is a personal injury law firm helping clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The firm has offices in Philadelphia, PA and in Moorestown, NJ.

Our skilled accident lawyers have years of experience fighting for clients injured by falls, car accidents, construction accidents, defective products, dog bites, and other incidents.

If you or a family member has been hurt, contact our firm today to speak to one of our personal injury lawyers.

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