UTICA — A reader recently contacted the Observer-Dispatch about keeping sidewalks clear for pedestrians and keeping pedestrians out of the street.

“No one in the city of Utica shovels their sidewalks and people have to walk in the roads,” the reader said, “which is horrible for pedestrians and drivers.”

The problem is two-fold: Having to clean your sidewalks for people who don’t seem to walk on them anyway. But as far as clearing the sidewalk, the reader was specifically worried about the city’s ostensible ambivalence toward people who have trouble shoveling.

“A lot of the people in Cornhill, they’re older people that can’t clean the sidewalks (for various reasons),” the reader added. “They’ve got to have a system to help these people out in the wintertime.”

The Problem

Utica residents that, for various reasons, don’t shovel their sidewalks.

The Solution

The Observer-Dispatch wrote about a similar issue in December, and the answer remains the same if you live in the city of Utica: Property owners have responsibility for their own sidewalk snow removal.

“Sidewalks are the responsibility of the homeowner/landowner,” said Mike Mahoney, the city of Utica’s deputy engineer, via text message. “(The Codes department) site(s) the home/land owner (who does not plow his or her sidewalk). And (the codes department goes) back to check for compliance.”

But what happens if you can’t shovel your own sidewalk?

Exceptions like these can be handled by the city of Utica, said Ashley Bizzari, executive assistant at the Utica Mayor’s Office. There are services set up for someone who cannot (for health reasons) shovel the snow on their property. Details can be provided by calling the mayor’s office at 315-792-0100, ext. 3.

Bizzari added that the target demographic for this service is elderly homeowners.

The Observer-Dispatch was not able to pursue the problem of people walking in the street as part of this article, though a subsequent Public Eye will focus specifically on this issue.

Reporter Joseph Labernik investigates neighborhood complaints each week and reports the findings. If something is broken or neglected in your neighborhood, tip off Public Eye by sending an email with a thorough description of the problem tojlabernik@uticaod.com. Letters also can be sent to Public Eye, Observer-Dispatch, 221 Oriskany Plaza, Utica, NY 13501.