Urbana Public Works issues ordinance for snow cleaning

By Fatima Farha

Icy conditions earlier this week reminded Urbana citizens to keep their sidewalks clear for students walking to class and community members getting around town. 

The Urbana Public Works issued an ordinance Tuesday, requiring property owners to clear the snow and ice on their sidewalks within 24 hours. 

The ice accumulated dangerously on the sidewalks Monday, causing pedestrians to have a difficult time walking on the sidewalks, said Scott Tess, environmental sustainability manager at Urbana Public Works. 

Tess said the sidewalk snow removal ordinance requires homeowners, apartment owners and business owners in Urbana to clear the ice and snow within the 48-inch width of their sidewalks.

“If there is cumulation of ice that can’t be removed with a shovel, property owners can put down salt to melt the ice or put down salt or sand to make the surface gritty so it can be walked on safely,” Tess said. 

Residents are given 24 hours to comply after the ordinance is issued, and there are usually no problems when it comes to compliance, Tess said.

Though if a property owner does not comply within the allotted time, they will be given a warning and an additional 24 hours to clear the ice or snow. If it still is not cleared by that time, the city may choose to clear the sidewalk and bill the property owner.

“We encourage all the residents and businesses to be good neighbors and clear snow and ice as soon as they can so everyone has a safe pedestrian environment,” Tess said. 

Urbana resident and Alderman for Ward 1, Charlie Smyth, said the ordinance is necessary to make sure that property owners do their part in keeping the neighborhood a safe place for pedestrians. 

Smyth said he had a very difficult time walking and riding his bike on Monday when the ice had settled in, and he had to resort to using the roads, which were less slippery. He said drivers on the road should stay mindful of the fact that pedestrians may have to use the road due to the icy conditions. 

“Be careful, and respect each other’s right to be out in the road,” Smyth said. “Homeowners, apartment owners, business owners can all do their own parts to make sure the ice is clear on the road.”

Fatima can be reached at [email protected].