Unshoveled sidewalks are becoming a public nuisance

    What’s treacherous, dangerous, and illegal? Not shoveling your walk. A week after the storms, many Philadelphia sidewalks remain a nightmare.
    73 year old Henry Singleton slowly navigates an ice-covered sidewalk in front of a building in Center City.
    Singleton works as a courier, and holds his next delivery tightly under his arm.

    What’s treacherous, dangerous, and illegal? Not shoveling your walk.  A week after the storms, many Philadelphia sidewalks remain a nightmare.

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    73 year old Henry Singleton slowly navigates an ice-covered sidewalk in front of a building in Center City.

    Singleton works as a courier, and holds his next delivery tightly under his arm.

    ourier Henry Singleton says the sidewalk is dangerous
    Courier Henry Singleton says the sidewalk is dangerous

    Singleton: I think it’s a disgrace I have to shovel mine and these people don’t! I think it’s horrible the city don’t make these places clean these city downtown sidewalks. I’m telling you if I fall, I’m done for life.  I’ll break something and it’ll never heal at my age and these people that own this building don’t care.

    A couple miles north, near 18th and Thompson Streets, unshoveled sidewalks are also plentiful.

    Temple University junior Darren Saunders lives next door to two empty row houses with boarded up windows and snowy sidewalks.

    Saunders: You have to walk in the street to get half the places you wanna go when it snows outside.  Like ’cause the abandoned houses there’s no shoveling.”

    Leaving an unshoveled sidewalk can earn you a $50 fine in Philadelphia. As of Monday, the city had issued 2,288  tickets. In Philadelphia, citizens who notice dangerous sidewalks can report them by calling 3-1-1.

    An uncleared sidewalk-near 21st and Market Streets
    An uncleared sidewalk-near 21st and Market Streets

    If neighbors of vacant houses owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority want the agency to clear slippery walks, they’d better start dialing that number.

    P-H-A spokesman Kirk Dorn says PHA does not clear the sidewalks in front of the more than 1,000 vacant homes it owns around the city unless someone complains.

    Dorn: We’re responding to inquires as we get them.  Luckily people who live next door to many of these houses have been generous and shoveled the sidewalks.  PHA simply doesn’t have the resources to send people out to shovel all of the sidewalks of vacant houses in the city.”

    Dorn says PHA does clear snow from sidewalks at 60 PHA-owned developments and hundreds of occupied properties.

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