Greater City Providence

ProJo: Providence officials: Shovel, or pay a fine


Mayor Elorza and State Senator Pichardo shoveling snow last week. Photo from Twitter.

walkinpvd-iconIntroduced by Ward 13 Council member Bryan Principe, the ordinance change would allow the Department of Public Works to clear un-passable sidewalks and then bill the abutting land owners for the cost of the work. It would also allow the city to levy a fine for each day a sidewalk remains unshoveled, instead of only a one-time charge.

This is what a lot of people have been calling for, the City shoveling, or paying someone to shovel, then billing the property owner. Of course, it will still be awkward when the City has to bill itself.

[box style=”alert”]Update: Hearing canceled[/alert]

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I’m envious of Providence,, living in North Providence, our Mayor was quoted in our local paper saying he was “uncomfortable” enforcing our sidewalk ordinances, (he did ask for voluntary cooperation.) That message got out, few sidewalks here are done including sidewalks adjacent to town property including Evans Field (on Smith St, Fruit Hill Avenue) and Stephen Olney Park (High Service, Smithfield Rd) – also some big companies failed to clear such as Citizens Bank. Many businesses piled up the snow from their private parking lots onto the public sidewalk leaving piles that look as they they will last forever. Our bus shelter on Smith by the Fruit Hill Park and ride was totally blocked and useless. No effort at most bus stops to safely help passengers who evidently count for very little.
    On the other hand, a few businesses and institutions (RIC, VFW, St James Episcopla Church, Rossi’s, Dave’s Furniture, Christensen’s Dairy, Yacht Club…) did do the sidewalks showing it can be done.

    By the way, a friend from Milwaukee has told me in that cold and snowy city they have the system, if the property owner doesn’t clear the sidewalk, the city does and bills thru the property tax system. I was told, that works, sidewalks get done

  • Barry, any idea how Milwaukee deals with violators that do not participate in the property tax system – like churches and schools?

  • Not News = Mayor issues warning, “Shovel or pay a fine”

    Not News = Meetings and Talk about new law to replace existing, yet to be enforced law.

    Would be News = Fat cat landlord, long time scofflaw, fined for failure to remove snow from sidewalk

    Wake me when there is some news

  • According to a comment on Facebook, State Senator Maryellen Goodwin and State Rep. Chris Blazejewski are set today to introduce Bills to mandate that RIDOT clear snow from sidewalks on overpasses under their jurisdiction.

    This stems from RIDOT being asked to clear snow from the sidewalk on the Smith Street overpass and responding that they didn’t really feel like doing it.

Providence, RI
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