Topeka urges residents to shovel their sidewalks

Local News
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Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story listed the incorrect fine for businesses that don’t shovel the sidewalks in front of their buildings. A video originally attached to this story reported an incorrect section of road that the city is responsible for clearing.

The city of Topeka is reminding Topekans that they need to shovel their sidewalks.

It’s a city rule that some residents aren’t aware of. 

“First time I’ve ever heard of it,” said one Topeka resident. 

But it doesn’t come without backlash. Residents asked the city why they have to clear their sidewalks if their residential streets aren’t being plowed in the comments of the city’s Facebook post. 

“It’s just something where we need people to take care of those sidewalks so kids can walk to school and people with disabilities can have a safe space for their wheelchair or however they get around,” said Molly Hadfield, director of communications for Topeka. 

The rule is meant to comply with the ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act. It also helps people without cars.

One Topeka resident told KSNT News that she shovels her sidewalk after injuring her ankle from a previous fall. She doesn’t want that to happen to others walking along her sidewalk. 

“The Facebook post was put out because it’s a courtesy,” said Hadfield. “We want to let people know that our sidewalks do affect our most vulnerable population here in Topeka.” 

If enforced, not clearing your sidewalk comes with a $20 fine. 

“We don’t actively go out and look for unplowed sidewalks,” said Hadfield. “If somebody complains we will go out and check if that sidewalk is cleared.” 

Businesses have half the time of residents. That’s 24 hours to clear their sidewalks. The fine is $50. 

“If it’s too icy or you’re not capable, it does allow for throwing salt or sand or something to get a grip on that surface so people can walk over it and not trip and fall,” said Hadfield.

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