Sidewalk Snow Removal

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

On this page:

Sidewalk Snow Removal Program

The City of Rochester is a walkable community. The City needs the help of all property owners to ensure that residents' mobility is safe during the winter season. When it snows, please help to keep public right-of-ways clear of snow and ice. Follow the rules and guidelines on sidewalk snow removal, on-street parking and cold weather safety included in this snow page. Thank you for contributing your time and patience to provide clear sidewalks, ease winter parking limitations and provide access for essential public services.

During the winter it is up to each property owner to clear public sidewalks of snow and ice. Rochester City Ordinance 72.02 requires property owners with a public sidewalk to remove snow and ice within 24-hours after a snowfall. This is necessary to ensure the safety of people using the sidewalks during the winter.

When Snow is Here, You Have 24-hours to Clear.

Please follow these DOs and DON'Ts:

DO:

  • Remove snow and ice from sidewalks and intersection handicap ramps abutting your property within 24-hours of snowfall ending.
  • Clear snow the width of the sidewalk. Remember that sidewalks are used by strollers and wheelchairs in the winter.
  • Remove ice to bare pavement or make as level as possible and treat with sand, sawdust or similar material.
  • Clear any snow that may be blocking a handicapped ramp, fire hydrant or catch basin.

DON'T:

  • Shovel or plow snow into the street: Violators caught shoveling snow from private property into the street will be fined.
  • Overexert yourself while shoveling: Excessive strain from the cold and hard labor may cause heart attacks.

Back to top

Complaints about un-cleared sidewalks and pedestrian ramps can be lodged by calling the Public Works office (507-328-2400) or by submitting an online request.

Back to top


Ordinance Enforcement FAQs

  • How does the City determine when the snowfall has ended?
    The end of a snowfall is determined based on data from the National Weather Service's weather station at the Rochester International Airport
  • How is the ordinance enforced?
    Enforcement is primarily complaint-driven. Public Works receives complaints and sends an inspector to see if the complaint is valid (flowchart). The central business area may be inspected without a complaint being received. Complaints can be lodged by calling the Public Works office (507-328-2400) or by submitting an online request.
  • Who will be writing the Citations?
    Public Works Department Employees have been given authority to write Administrative Citations to enforce the existing sidewalk snow removal ordinance.
  • Why did my property receive a citation?
    The sidewalk, when inspected, was determined to not be clear of snow and ice. City dispatched snow removal contractors are required to take before and after photos of the property found in violation. The photos document the conditions and can be provided as requested. Please call 507-328-2400 to request photos. 

Non-compliant & Compliant Sidewalk

Back to top


Citation & Fee FAQs

  • What are the costs associated with the citation and contractor services?
    Administrative Citations increase per violation if more than one is received in a 365 day period:

 Zoning 1st Citation  2nd  3rd or more 
 Residential  $40 $60   $120
 Commercial/CBD or Industrial  $60  $100  $200

The contractors services costs include a mobilization charge ($46 in 2016; $48 in 2017) in response to an inspector validated complaint PLUS removal costs dependent upon the linear footage of the sidewalk and pedestrian ramps, if present.

  • What are the two parts of the bill?
    • The first page of the bill is for the administrative citation written by the Public Works Inspector. The amount depends on if the property is zoned residential or commercial and the number of violations in a 365-day period.
    • The second page of the bill is for the contractor's services to remove the snow. The City hires the contractors and directs them to clear the sidewalk after an inspection by City staff.

We are required to provide citation recipients an opportunity to appeal the citation within 10 days and therefore we mail the citation out as soon as possible after they are written. We typically receive the contractor services bill at a later date and send out bills after the amounts have been reconciled with our department.

Administrative Fine Enforcement Citizen's Handbook

  • Where can I pay my citation and contractor services bill?
    • Online: To view assessments online or make a payment from your savings or checking account visit our website www.rochestermn.gov/assessments. Properties can be looked up either by street address or by 12 digit parcel identification number.
    • In Person: Payments can be made in the Office of the City Clerk, 201 Fourth Street SE, Room 135, Rochester, Minnesota 55904, in person or by mail. Please bring or return the notice with your remittance. For information on payments, contact the City Clerk's office at (507) 328-2900.

    Back to top


Free City Sand Locations

Free sand is available to residents in Rochester. You can fill up a maximum of a 5 gallon bucket at these locations:

  • YMCA Downtown
  • Northbrook Shopping Center

Back to top


Pedestrian Facilities Winter Maintenance Map

The City of Rochester removes snow from many miles of bike paths and trail network during the winter months. Click here for a map of the paths and trails maintained during the winter. Not all paths and trails are open as it is not practical to maintain the entire trail network.

Back to top