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Sidewalk shoveling citations work to clear the way for our neighbors

Denver property owners have 24 hours after a storm to shovel. Neighbors can call in to 311 to report icy walkways - with a pretty high success rate.

DENVER — Denver’s Community Planning and Development department has been busy since the beginning of the year inspecting people’s complaints about un-shoveled sidewalks.

Since January 1, the department has inspected 755 complaints about icy sidewalks. Of those, 180 were already cleared by the time inspectors got there. Inspectors issued 567 notices on properties, giving owners 24 hours to clear walkways. Since then, they've only cited 8 people.

“We’re out here, we’re trying,” City inspector Marcus Hill said Friday.

A spokesperson for Denver’s Community Planning and Development department said anywhere from 26-29 inspectors work shifts investigating 311 complaints.

Hill was checking into complaints in the Speer neighborhood when 9NEWS met up with him. People had complained about snow on the sidewalk in front of three properties.

Hill ended up issuing notices to each home. One resident who answered the door immediately chipped the ice away from his sidewalk.

He said he had been out of town during the storm and forgot to shovel the area.

“When you own your house, you accept the responsibility that you do have to shovel snow,” the homeowner said.

On the other side of town, Jonathan Pira, a safe streets advocate who lives in the West Colfax neighborhood, said he always shovels his walk and isn’t shy about reporting people who don’t to 311.

“If we encounter properties where…it’s been 24-48 hours and they haven’t been shoveled…hard to get the stroller through… we’ll pull up the PocketGov app and send in a notice to 311 and say the property hasn’t been shoveled,” Pira said.

“It’s always been very responsive. I’ve always seen the notice out on doors the next day – no matter how many properties it was,” he added.

Pira said the goal isn’t to get his neighbors fined. He finds people tend to do the work once they get the reminder.

“Typically, about 24 hours later, they’ll be shoveled. I know the inspectors come back in another 24 to 48 hours,” he said.

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