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Buffalo Common Council Member proposes city sidewalk snow removal program

Posted at 12:41 AM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 00:41:35-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Homeowners and businesses are typically responsible for shoveling their sidewalks after it snows. A Buffalo Common Council proposal could change that.

Councilman Joe Golombek said the city should be responsible for shoveling sidewalks. He's re-introducing a proposal that looks at hiring an outside company to clear all sidewalks.

He said too many home and business owners are not shoveling sidewalks, making it dangerous for people to walk. Golombek said he understands sometimes people shovel and plows push snow onto the sidewalk, but that isn't always the case.

“But, you go into some of these other places and you can tell it’s never been shoveled. There’s just like ruts where people walk, that’s what sticks in my craw," Golombek said.

Golombek said he's proposing it again following the Christmas night hit-and-run near Lincoln Parkway. The couple said they were in the street because the sidewalks were not handicap accessible due to snow.

Golombek's looking at other cities like Syracuse. It contracts with a private company when there's three or more inches of snow.

“The point is to get the sidewalk cleared, and what's one way to guarantee that’s going to get done is if we do it ourselves,” said Corey Driscoll Dunham the Chief Operating Officer for the City of Syracuse.

The program doesn't cover the whole city. Dunham said areas were picked based on safety concerns using data.

“Where are people walking, where are the areas, not necessarily that have the highest pedestrian traffic, but where are pedestrian's safety most in danger if they were to be walking in the street,” Dunham said.

Golombek has no estimate on a cost. He wants to use the money from the city's school zone camera tickets to pay for the program.

“I’m sure it will be expensive, you know to a degree, but I would like to see, the camerass are here whether people like it or not, I want to see a benefit to the residents of the City of Buffalo," he said.

Syracuse stopped the shoveling this year due to COVID-19 budget restraints. It budgeted $250,000 for the 80 miles of sidewalk in last year's program.

Buffalo has 2,000 miles of sidewalk.

Golombek said if the program happens it would be for next winter.