Who Is Supposed to Shovel the Sidewalk, and Other Snowy Rules

We were curious about the town's rules related to sidewalk-shoveling and snow removal.

Patch readers have asked us the following question: "Who is responsible for clearing the sidewalks in town?"

The answer: The owner of the home abutting the sidewalk in question. And you've got six hours to do that, including applying sand or salt if needed. See below for the complete bylaw as it relates to this issue.

The following is a reminder from the Department of Public Works on bylaws pertaining to Northborough's roadways during the winter months.

Any property owner displacing snow from privately owned property onto a public way, or responsible for displacing snow from privately owned property onto a public way, shall be subject to a fine of fifty dollars ($50).

No person shall park a vehicle on either side of any street in Northborough between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m., effective from the period Dec. 1 through March 31.

No person shall park a vehicle in any of the following places, and vehicles found parked in violation of the provisions of this section may be moved by or under the direction of an officer and at the expense of the owner to a place where parking is permitted:
A. Within an intersection.
B. Upon any sidewalk.
C. Upon any crosswalk.
D. Upon the roadway in a business or residential district where parking is permitted unless both wheels on the right side of the vehicle are within twelve (12) inches of the curb or edge of the roadway, except where angle parking is required.
E. Upon any roadway where the parking of a vehicle will not leave a clear and
unobstructed lane at least ten (10) feet wide for passing traffic.
F. Upon any street or highway within ten (10) feet of a fire hydrant.
G. Upon or in front of any private road or driveway without the consent of the owner of said private road or driveway.
H. Upon any street or highway within twenty (20) feet of an intersecting way, except alleys.

The owner or person having care of any property abutting on any sidewalk shall, within six (6) hours after any accumulation of snow cause the same to be removed therefrom and shall, if such sidewalk becomes icy or otherwise slippery, cause the same to be covered with sand or other suitable substance.


Madge S February 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM
So why are there sidewalks that haven't been cleared from the past two snowfalls? Are these people being fined? I hope so-that's a lot of money that the town could be bringing in.
DLF February 25, 2013 at 03:29 PM
When I called, I was told the town doesn't enforce this. :(
Hannah February 25, 2013 at 03:56 PM
I live near the Zeh School and a 'plow' comes and clears the sidewalk in front of my house.
Tree Hugger February 25, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Postman February 25, 2013 at 07:27 PM
They don't enforce this at all and it's got to be frustrating for those who want/need to walk. I live towards the Berlin end of town and grew up in the same neighborhood. We used to ride our bikes all along the sidewalk that runs along side Whtiney St. Very fun as it went up and down with the driveways. It's still there, but the property owners have let it get overgrown to the point where it's completely unpassable through most of it. I would be using them quite a bit myself if people would keep them up. I'm actually thinking of having my Cub Scout Den clean it up. Of course we'll have to get resident approval first. How odd if we don't get it...
Flavadog February 25, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Not only do the people not bother to clean or sand the sidewalks on Whitney Street several homes plow the snow onto the sidewalks so you couldn't use them unless you want to climb over the snowbanks real inconsiderate
Neal February 25, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Its very frustrating trying to walk around the neighborhood when a good percentage of the sidewalks still have 6+" of snow for 2 and 3 weeks ago. Especially at night, walking in the streets are not safe since most drivers do not follow the posted speed limits. Its bad enough that half the streets don't have any sidewalks but that's another story.
John Phaser February 25, 2013 at 11:17 PM
I wanted to paint my sidewalk and do repairs, I was told I cant its town / state property. If its town / state property they can clear the snow!
Neal February 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM
John how is shoveling any different then raking leaves off the sidewalk in the fall, or is that the towns job as well?


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