City of Rochester
201 4th Street SE
Rochester, MN  55904

Phone: 507-328-2900
Fax: 507-328-2901
TDD: 507-328-2900

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City of Rochester - News & Announcements

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NEWS RELEASE: Sidewalk Snow Removal Reminder

Post Date:11/01/2017

Contact: Megan Moeller
Public Works Communications Coordinator
507-328-2436 or
Brett Jenkinson
Public Works Engineering Project Manager
507-328-2466 or

The Rochester Public Works Department wants to remind all property owners to keep their sidewalks and paths accessible this winter by removing snow and ice from them. When snow is here, you have 24 hours to clear!

Why do sidewalks and paths need to be cleared?
Winter can be a difficult time for pedestrians using sidewalks and paths to safely access transit, schools, work, and maintain an active lifestyle. Snow and ice covered sidewalks and paths are hazardous to all pedestrians, especially the elderly, disabled, and those with medical conditions that impact their mobility. We can all do our part this winter to contribute to a safe and mobile pedestrian environment in Rochester.

What are the rules regarding sidewalk snow removal?
Rochester City Ordinance 72.02 requires property owners with a public sidewalk or path abutting their property to fully remove snow and ice within 24-hours after a snowfall. The full sidewalk width must be free of snow and ice and pathways must have a clear path that is at least 5 feet wide. The graphic on page two show examples of pedestrian facilities that need to be cleared by abutting property owners.

How can property owners avoid citations?
The best way for a property owner to avoid a citation and associated service costs is to remove snow and ice from their sidewalk or path within 24 hours after a snowfall. If the Public Works Department receives a complaint that snow and ice have not been removed from a sidewalk or path, the complaint will be investigated. If a violation exists upon inspection, the property owner will receive a $40 Administrative Fine citation and a bill for the cost to remove snow and ice. The graphic on page two shows a compliant sidewalk.

Is there salt/sand available for treating sidewalks?
The city provides residents a bucket-worth of free salt/sand mixture at two locations in town*: in northeast behind the Fiesta Café in the Northbrook Shopping Center, and in southwest at the end of 1st Ave SW next to the YMCA. Residents must bring their own supplies as buckets/bags and shovels are not provided by the city. Residents are encouraged to sweep up any salt and sand left on bare pavement to save it for future re-use and to prevent it from running off into nearby waterways. *Please note these piles will be stocked in advance of the first substantial snow/ice event. If the materials are put out while temperatures are still above freezing, the pile gets incredibly hard and difficult to work with.

For more information about the ordinance and enforcement program visit:

What does a compliant sidewalk look like? (See full version of News Release for pictures)

Examples of Pedestrian Facility Segments
Property owners are responsible for clearing the segments of sidewalks and paths abutting their parcel boundaries. (See full version of News Release for pictures)

Please consider the following requests if one of the following special situations applies to your property:
Adjacent to a school bus stop or near schools where crossing guards are stationed: Parents and students appreciate a safe walking path to school. Please keep sidewalks and stops clear of snow and ice.
Adjacent to a Rochester Public Transit bus stop: RPT and its riders appreciate your assistance in keeping the areas around the transit stops and shelters free from snow and ice this winter.
Rental Properties: Citations and associated fees relating to violations of the Ordinance are sent to property owners and are their responsibility to pay. Rental contracts, including sidewalk snow removal responsibilities, are private agreements that the Public Works Department does not enforce. The Public Works Department highly recommends clarifying snow removal expectations with your tenants.

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