Knowing who is responsible for clearing sidewalks

CHICOPEE/SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Impassible sidewalks are causing outrage for residents in western Massachusetts, but who is responsible for making sure the walkways stay walk-able?

It depends on where you live. Most cities and towns have a bylaw that puts the responsibility on homeowners and business owners.

One of the spots people have been complaining about is in front of the Sara Sherman pool on Meadow Street in Chicopee. It’s the responsibility of the homeowner and the business to clear the sidewalk. If they don’t do it they could be fined $50.

Enforcing the bylaw is generally up to the DPW and police departments. Our cameras spotted sidewalks so obstructed it forced pedestrians into the road.

“I see young kids. 12 or 13 years old who have to walk in the road because nothing is plowed, nothing is shoveled. If you are a family man or just running a business you should have concern for kids walking,” said Joshua Howard of Springfield.

South Hadley town Administrator Mike Sullivan told 22News his office is getting complaints. “We’ve also had a call from runners. I have to be honest with you. The expectation not to make the sidewalks in the condition that we would recommend people run on,” said Sullivan.

In South Hadley, you have at least 24-hours after a storm to clear the sidewalk in front of your home or business. And while you are at it consider helping your fire department by shoveling around hydrants.

The select board does require the town clear a list of sidewalks on certain main roads.

For a state compiled list on whose responsible for the sidewalks in your city or town CLICK HERE.