Snow Covered Sidewalks Make Accessibility Impossible
In less than two weeks it will be April 1st. Despite this fact, winter is still a thing. Snow is piled up everywhere, making travel difficult. In fact, if you are in a wheelchair or using crutches you may not be able to cross a street due to snow piles on the sidewalk. Getting to a bus stop, for example, may require you to cross a street. Watch what happened to this Winnipeg resident when she became stuck in the snow here. Many businesses and property owners clean off sidewalks to the street. Then a plow will come by and clear the streets, pushing a big pile of hard snow up to the curb. What you see above is simply a case of thoughtless snow removal. Snow pushed from the parking lot is just piled onto the sidewalk.
Unfortunately, what you see above is a common occurrence. We mention it every year. Last year we talked about the ADA and who is responsible for snow removal at the end of the sidewalks. To read that story again click right here.
So Who Is Responsible?
Again, this is where it gets confusing. The city is responsible for clearing the roads. Also, the business and property owners are responsible for clearing snow from the sidewalks from in-front of their business or property. Although no one really addresses this directly in the regulations, the homeowner, landlord, the business owner should consider this part of their pathway/sidewalk, and maintain a clear pathway. Since surely they would like people to safely access their business or home and be able to safely cross the street.
Take Safety Seriously
Do not attempt to cross streets when snow and ice blocking the crossing. With the melt occurring now, it is making a mess of the streets as well. Lastly, you do not want to get your wheelchair stuck. Be sure to dress accordingly and have a cellphone when going out in case you end up getting trapped by snow and ice.