Once snow stops, what Philly residents should do to not get fined

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As soon as the snow stops falling, the clock starts ticking on when Philadelphia residents need to remove the snow from buildings and sidewalks.

City officials say you need to have a clear sidewalk path at least 36 inches wide within six hours after the storm ends.

The city reminds residents to clear snow from neighborhood sewer drains to allow melting snow to drain.

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However, another important reminder from the city: do not shovel or plow snow into the street.

"This practice is illegal, unsafe and hinders snow operations," the city said.

The penalty is a fine ranging from $50 to $300 for each violation.

The actual Philadelphia Code 10-720 reads:

"(1) the owner, agent, and tenants of any building or premise shall clear a path of not less than 36" in width on all sidewalks, including curb cuts, abutting the building or premises within 6 (six) hours after the snow has ceased to fall. The path shall be thoroughly cleared of snow and ice. Where the width of any pavement measured from the property line to the curb is less than 3 (three) feet, the path cleared may be only 12 inches in width. When the building in question is a multifamily dwelling the owner or his agent shall be responsible for compliance with the requirements of this section."

(2) Snow or ice removed from sidewalks, driveways, or other areas shall not be placed or piled in the street.

(3) Any person who violates this Section shall be subject to the provisions and penalties set forth in 10-718 and 10-719.

The penalty for violating this provision can range from "a minimum fine of fifty dollars ($50) to no more than three hundred dollars ($300) for each violation."


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Zach Ward worked early to try to clear the snow accumulating in front of his home in Manayunk.

"This street always gets pretty bad. So we have to do what we have to do so our neighbors can go up and down," he said as he shoveled.

Shoveling isn't just a task for Stephen Mathews. It's his job, and he says there's one thing that residents can do to make the job easier for themselves.

"I'd say use a metal shovel. Not a plastic one. It's a little bit icy, it's going to freeze," he said.

The city has activated its Office of Emergency Management and declared a snow emergency, which requires drivers to move parked cars from snow emergency routes to make room for snowplows.

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The City of Philadelphia is still under a snow emergency. Officials shared these important updates for residents:

$5 parking rate

The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) will be offering a flat twenty-four-hour $5 parking rate at the following Center City garages from 6 p.m. Sunday, January 31, until the snow emergency is lifted.

AutoPark at Independence Mall (5th & Market Streets)
AutoPark at Jefferson (10th & Ludlow Streets)
AutoPark at the Fashion District (10th & Filbert Streets)
AutoPark at Old City (2nd & Sansom Streets)
Parkade on 8th (801 Filbert Street)
Philadelphia Family Court Garage (1503-11 Arch Street - Going south on 15th Street, enter the garage on the west side just after 15th & Cherry St.)

To receive the discounted $5 rate, customers must bring their ticket and pay at the PPA Management Office in each garage.

During this snow emergency, the PPA will enforce all snow emergency and safety violations. Meters, kiosks, and time limit violations on residential blocks will not be enforced until the snow emergency is lifted.

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City Buildings Closed: Due to the snow emergency, City of Philadelphia government offices are closed to the public again on Tuesday, February 2.

City-Run Testing: City-run COVID-19 testing sites will be closed on February 2. The Health Department is working to reschedule appointments. The Health Department recommends calling ahead to non-City run sites to check if the sites are open or to learn if they are operating with different hours.

City-Run Vaccine Clinic: The Health Department will operate its COVID-19 vaccine clinic at one location tomorrow, February 2 for appointments previously scheduled. Individuals who have registered for appointments with the Health Department will also have the option to reschedule their appointments. For all of the non-City sites, including hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, residents should call ahead to check their status.

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Sanitation and Recycling Collections: Sanitation Convenience Centers will resume operations on Tuesday, February 2 with normal hours of 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. The centers are open through Saturday. Visit philadelphiastreets.com for locations.

Information for Businesses: All property owners and/or tenants are responsible for clearing a 36 inch path on all sidewalks, including curb cuts, abutting the building or premises within six hours after the snow has ceased to fall-even if the establishment is temporarily closed due to snow or COVID-19 restrictions. A fine of $50 or more can be imposed in violation of this code.

Establishments with outdoor dining need to take additional precautions. All outdoor dining setups should be secured, removing as much of the setups as possible-including tables, chairs, heating equipment, temporary structures. As noted in the City's winter guidelines for outdoor dining, the City is not liable for any damage from plowing or snow removal, even if structures are permitted. Materials should be cleared from the right of way as much as possible to avoid possible damage and blocking of dining setups. Restaurants with unpermitted structures are reminded that their establishment is liable for any injuries suffered due to damage from the structure during and after the storm.

Food Sites: There are changes in distribution, with many sites closed Tuesday, February 2. The City is updating phila.gov/food with changes as they are available

Access Centers: Access Centers will be closed for the full day on Tuesday, February 2. Caregivers of students will be called by program staff to inform them of this change. Students who attend Access Centers should contact their individual schools regarding attendance while Access Centers are closed.

Learning: The School District of Philadelphia has announced that learning will be all virtual on Tuesday. Archdiocesan high schools and parochial elementary schools in Philadelphia will also be virtual.

See the list of school closings and delays at 6abc.com/SchoolClosings

Free Library of Philadelphia: The Free Library will be closed for in-person services and materials pick-up on Tuesday, February 2. The Free Library's virtual programming and call center 1-833-TALK FLP (825-5357) will be open.

SEPTA will post real-time travel updates at septa.org and @SEPTA on Twitter.

PHL International Airport: Travelers and those picking up travelers are encouraged to check their flight status and road conditions before leaving for the airport tonight and Tuesday. Call your airline, get updates at 1-800-PHL-GATE (745-4283), or check the PHL International Airport website-phl.org. The airport has brined onsite roadways, with snow removal and deicing operations planned for the duration of the event.

Call Centers Open: The Philly 311 Call Center will remain open during normal business hours on Monday and Tuesday (8 a.m. - 8 p.m.) to take calls for non-emergencies. Requests for salting and plowing will not be taken during the storm. Once the storm has moved on, the City will announce when such requests will be taken.

The Philadelphia Water Department's customer contact center (215-685-6300) will be open. Residents are encouraged to shovel snow from the fronts of fire hydrants and storm drains on their block to allow snow melt to drain to the city sewer system.

Homeless Outreach: The Office of Homeless Services issued a Code Blue on Wednesday, January 27 at 3 p.m., and it will remain in effect until further notice. Throughout the Code Blue, Philadelphia's homeless outreach teams will patrol the streets in greater numbers, urging individuals experiencing homelessness to come indoors and avoid prolonged exposure to the elements amid dangerously cold temperatures. People do not need ID to enter shelters, and they can remain indoors throughout the duration of the Code Blue. If you are concerned about someone who is homeless, please call Homeless Outreach at 215-232-1984 at any time.

Pet Safety Awareness: Residents should contact the ACCT Philly hotline (267-385-3800 ext 1) if they observe a dog outside during extreme cold (aside from bathroom breaks and short walks). It is against City ordinance to leave dogs outside in extreme cold without proper shelter, and owners can be fined up to $500.

Philadelphia Prisons: All Philadelphia Department of Prisons facilities remain closed to civilian visitors due to COVID-19 precautions.

First Judicial District: Courts will remain closed on Tuesday, but critical services will be operational including: Emergency Protection from Abuse Filings, Preliminary Arraignment Court, and Bail Acceptance.
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