If you don't shovel your sidewalk in Seattle during snowfall, you could be fined

SEATTLE - Now's the time to get the shovels and de-icers before hardware stores run out.

If a lot of snow comes this year, the one big difference is that the city of Seattle is going to enforce the sidewalk shoveling rule. It’s not only the law they say but it’s the right thing to do. If you have a sidewalk right next to your property, it is your responsibility to clear it.

If you don’t clear it within 12 hours after snow accumulation you could face a fine after getting a notice first. The fine is $50 for homeowners and $250 for commercial property owners.

The memories of last February’s 'Snowmaggedon' is leaving no room for procrastination for many as they rushed into hardware stores on Thursday.

“Snowed in, couldn’t leave the house, barely could go to the grocery store,” Doug Lyber said.

So, Lyber stocked up on snow essentials just in case we get snow that sticks.

Tweedy and Popp Hardware in Lake City says they are selling a lot of de-icers and the frenzy started on Wednesday.

“By 9 a.m. in the morning we sold 800 pounds,” Manager Tony O’Connor said.

“Snow is charming in the first 8th of an inch and then it’s alarming for an awful lot of people after that,” Barb Graff with the Office of Emergency Management said.

Especially for people who are disabled highlighted in the city’s Shared Shovel Campaign.

The group Rooted in Rights pushed the city to enforce shoveling laws after last year’s record snowfall. Clark Matthews, who uses a wheelchair to get around, is one of the people involved in the campaign.

“It was at least two weeks where I couldn’t push around in my own neighborhood,” Clark Matthews said.

“With over 2,400 miles of sidewalk in Seattle, we depend on the public to do your part,” SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe said.

While much of the sidewalk is left to us, SDOT crews will be plowing main roads and prioritizing access to schools, hospitals and buses first. During last year’s massive snowstorm, schools had to close because roads remained unplowed. So this time around Zimbabwe says there will be better communication and a process to get schools opened back up.

“Don’t expect your neighborhood will be plowed immediately we will do what we can,” Mayor Durkan said.

And even if we don’t get a lot of snow, we do have freezing temperatures to deal with,

“If we get freezing rain, that can be death for our electricity lines so check your flashlights, recharge your electronics and have some candles and warm blankets,” Mayor Durkan said.