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Snow Covered Sidewalks Make For Unsafe Travels

December 11, 2013, 6:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Snow Covered Sidewalks Make For Unsafe Travels

It's a law in Sioux Falls, people have to have their sidewalks shoveled clean 48 hours after it stops snowing. But not everyone is obeying the law and that can not only make it extremely difficult to get around, but in some cases dangerous.

If this looks dangerous, imagine how Charlie Santee feels. 

"It's a bit better than going on the sidewalks, sidewalks aren't clear as the streets," Santee said.

Santee, whose been in a wheelchair since 2001, says he's forced to roll himself down Sioux Falls' busy streets, because snow covered sidewalks make it too difficult for him to travel on them.  

"I have narrow wheels on this thing, they are slick, so I slide, you can't get good grip on the handrail and you don't sink, you sort of stay on the surface and there's no traction," Santee said.

In fact, when we stopped to talk to him, he had trouble getting moving again. So I helped push him out of the snow and back into the street, a place where he says he'd rather not go, because of the possibility of being hit by a car. 

"That's an experience I've already had once this year that I don't want to repeat," Santee said.

The city doesn't want to see people like Santee using city streets.

"Absolutely not," Kevin Smith of city planning said.

Smith says the safest place for anyone is on the sidewalk.

"You don't have to wait 48 hours after the snow fall has passed, because there's people who need that sidewalk every single day and if you are able bodied and can hop over snow banks that's one thing, but you have to think of others as well," Smith said.

Property owners are also responsible for clearing the curb cuts too. That's something Santee would appreciate.

"Shovel your sidewalks, there are people who depend on them," Santee said.

If you fail to clear your sidewalk and the city has to do it for you, you will be fined $100 and billed for the work which could cost you another $200.

You can call 978-6900 during normal business hours, or leave a voice message after hours or on weekends, to report violations

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