Clearing sidewalks up to city standards in Manayunk

Philadelphia’s new shoveling mandate calls for all city residents and business owners to clear a 36-inch-wide path along sidewalks within six hours of the end of a snowstorm.

That’s six inches more than the city’s previous requirement, which means more backaches for shovelers and a potential fine of up to $300 for those that don’t abide.

It’s a rule that took Lee Karpo of Manayunk by surprise.

“It’s 36 inches? I didn’t know that,” Karpo said. “I’m definitely gonna have to shovel a little better.” Then he chuckled as he started to clear a wider path outside his home on Baldwin Street.

Joe Larch started shoveling and salting the sidewalk outside his house on Green Lane around 8 a.m. His sidewalk is part of a direct path for residents to get from the top of the hill to the Manayunk train station on Cresson Street. So, he’s adamant about clearing the necessary path for safety reasons.

“It’s a good rule,” Larch said as he scattered salt along the three-foot-wide path. “We have a lot of college kids around here that don’t shovel, so you’ve got a lot of people slipping and sliding on their way down the hill.”

Outside of Zesty’s Restaurant on Main Street, Bobby Konidaris had just started tackling the large strip of sidewalk in front of his family’s business.

“I am doing stuff that I hate to do,” he joked. “It’s not really a big deal, but it’s unfortunate we have four storefronts, so that’s four times the work.”

Konidaris added that he’s willing to put in a couple hours of sweat to avoid the city’s fines – not to mention lawsuits from anyone who might slip. Plus today’s snow was much easier to clear than the storm last winter that blanketed the area with more than two feet of snow.

Wednesday in Manayunk, many sidewalks on the main roads looked like they would pass inspection by the Streets Department, but the neighborhood as a whole could use some work.   When the temperature drops at night, these snow-covered sidewalks will likely turn into hazardous sheets of ice.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.