Who is responsible for clearing slippery New York City sidewalks?

This year, New York City residents were forced to deal with a significant amount of snow. Of course, this proved to be inconvenient for people trying to navigate the logistics of the morning and afternoon commutes in the inclement weather. At the same time, the snow created danger for a number of others.

In the wake of a snowfall, property owners in New York City are generally responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their property. Failure to do so can create slippery conditions, which poses a clear risk of injury. On the other hand, determining who is responsible for shoveling certain sections of city sidewalk might not be so clear cut.

Reports indicate that some sidewalks in Queens were neglected after recent snowfalls. As a result, they became dangerous for pedestrians. One woman found this out in the most unfortunate way possible: she slipped and fell on her way to the grocery store. As a result of the sidewalk accident, she suffered bruises and was left bleeding.

Local leaders have expressed anger and frustration over unshoveled sidewalks throughout the borough. The problem is that it’s not clear who is in charge of cleaning certain sections of sidewalk.

According to a spokesperson from the city’s Sanitation Department, no one really knows which city department should have maintained the sidewalk where the woman was hurt. The official went on to say that clearing roadways and areas surrounding fire hydrants is a priority. At the same time, is this a valid excuse for endangering pedestrians who count on safe sidewalks?

Source: New York Daily News, “Ice-covered sidewalks continue to be a hazard in parts of Queens,” Lisa L. Colangelo, Feb. 17, 2014