City officials advise residents to shovel sidewalks for safety

Posted at 9:41 PM, Dec 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-30 23:41:09-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- With Tuesday’s frigid temperatures snow and ice can last for days, which means danger if sidewalks and walkways are not shoveled.

“It seems like the sidewalks are just completely covered in snow and it’s already a few days after the first snow fall,” said Jimmy Elam, who lives in Sugar House.

He said this time of year the street is safer than the sidewalk.

"I have to resort to running on the road just because I know it's salted out there, I'll be a little more confident I just won't slip on some ice," Elam said.

Most Utah cities have an ordinance requiring property owners to shovel their sidewalks within 24 hours of a storm.  However, some cities, like Salt Lake City, only enforce the shoveling law if there is a complaint, and then it's typically just a warning. While in West Valley City, a citation is more likely if the snow isn't shoveled.

"Really it's for your own safety and the safety of your neighbors to do it so we don't even want to have to go there, but there are certain things we can do that will prevent it from happening again," said Aaron Crim, spokesman for West Valley City.

Laurie Neebling, of Sugar House, said the home owners aren't the problem.

"I think the renters don't necessarily care and they're not responsible so I don't know where the landlords are," said Neebling, of Sugar House. "It’s awful -- especially if your dog is pulling at all, he can totally take you down. So if it's slick at all you can be in trouble."

Down the street, Daniel Poulson starts shoveling the moment the flakes stop falling.

"Next time they walk across it they'll fall on their head so we try to make things a little easier for everybody, get the snow out of the way as soon as you can," Poulson said.

Besides local residents, mail carriers are also major proponents of shoveled walkways and sidewalks. The average Salt Lake City mail carrier delivers to 600 houses a day.

"It's certainly a challenge for our carriers to deliver in the snow," said Margaret Putnam, of the Salt Lake City Post Office. "There have been many carriers that have fallen, cracked a bone, crushed a rib -- so we want to make sure our carriers are safe."

According to Putnam, if there is too much snow and ice on a sidewalk or walkway leading to a home carriers won't deliver mail to that home until it’s considered safe.