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Sidewalk Snow Removal

Private Property

Private property, residential or commercial property owners and occupants are required to clear the sidewalks abutting their property of snow or ice within 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling. This includes the corner crosswalk area for property owners with corner lots or those whose property abuts a midblock crosswalk.

Beginning January 20, 2015, fees/fines for violating this ordinance have increased.
Violators who are reported to DPW will be issued a notice to clear the walk and will be assessed a special charge of $50.  Property owners who fail to clear all sidewalk snow and ice within 24 hours after receiving notice of the violation will be assessed additional special charges of $75 for the first violation, and $100 for a second violation and any violations thereafter, plus the cost of snow and ice removal if cleared by the City (City Ordinance 116-8). The City is responsible for clearing approaches to alleys only; the City does not plow alleys.

Sidewalk clearing for older citizens and disabled persons

Residents who own single family homes who are physically unable to clear the sidewalk in front of their home may apply to Sanitation for assistance with clearing the walk after a snowstorm exceeding 4 inches. Click here to learn more about special needs services.

Public Sidewalks and Crosswalks

Sanitation is responsible for clearing crosswalks of excessive amounts of snow due to plowing. Public sidewalks are cleared following street cleanup after a storm. Because the crews who drive snow plows also operate sidewalk and bus stop cleanup equipment, these operations begin after street plowing is finished. City properties and those with hardship exception cases are plowed first, then crosswalks and alley openings are cleared. It generally takes up to three days to complete a sidewalk operation.

Bus Stops

When directed, the Street Maintenance Section of the Infrastructure Services Division clears windrows of plowed snow from 4,000 bus stops. Click here to learn more about Bus Stop snow removal.

City Owned Buildings

Each city department is responsible for maintaining clear sidewalks abutting their buildings and field offices in outlying areas. The entire City Hall complex is maintained by Department of Public Works staff.

Pedestrian Walks

Forestry clears a limited number of specified locations while other pedestrian walks are cleared by Sanitation staff.

City Owned Parking Lots

Forestry clears the abutting sidewalks of snow and ice. The lots themselves are cleared by private contractors.


Sidewalks around and through totlots are salted by Forestry for ice control only. If plowing of sidewalks is necessary, Sanitation clears totlot sidewalks.

Railroad Bridges

Sanitation clears sidewalks abutting railroad bridges in conjunction with a general plowing operation.

City Maintained Bridges

The Infrastructure Services Division is responsible for a specified list of sidewalks on bridges. Certain bridge sidewalks are cleared by the Sanitation Division but only in conjunction with a plowing operation cleanup.

Bridges/Overpasses Over Freeways/Interstate Highways

Pedestrian walkways and streets with sidewalks abutting bridges are cleared by Sanitation, only when a plowing operation is called and there is sufficient snow accumulation to warrant a plowing.

City ordinance prohibits shoveling snow onto streets

Property owners should deposit the snow from sidewalks and driveways onto their yards or the strip between the curb and sidewalk. 





Extra Cart Fee. Beginning January 1, 2014 households with more than one garbage cart will incur a $15 per quarter charge for each additional garbage cart.

To avoid this charge, contact the Call Center at 286-CITY (2489) to request the City remove the extra garbage carts from your property. There is no extra charge for more than one recycling cart.

Construction Related Material Charge.  There is a charge for all City residents bringing construction related material into the self help stations. This includes roofing material, brick, stones, concrete, lumber, drywall, paneling and other construction material.

The charge is $20 for up to 8 cubic yards, and $40 for 8-16 cubic yards.  (16 cubic yard maximum.)  No contractor vehicles allowed.

Bulky Changes.  City crews will only pick up one (1) cubic yard of extra material placed out for pickup on your designated collection day. This is about the size of an easy chair.  Call 286-CITY (2489) to request pickup of larger piles for a fee. See the self help page for more information



Operations Division
Room 501
Zeidler Municipal Building
841 N. Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Preston Cole
Director of Operations