The GObike-led and citizen-run Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board for the City of Buffalo has compiled the below list of FAQs for residents on sidewalk maintenance during winter months.
Do I have to shovel the snow from the sidewalk in front of my home?
Homeowners are legally responsible for sidewalk snow removal in front of their homes. The law states that snowfall from the night before must be removed by 9:00 a.m.
I live in a rental home. Who is responsible for clearing the snow in front of my building?
The property owner is responsible, usually your landlord or rental agency. Some tenants arrange to remove snow from their sidewalks as part of their lease agreement.
Does this apply to sidewalks in front of other buildings such as offices, stores, and churches?
For most commercial/nonresidential buildings, the owner is responsible for sidewalk snow removal. On a few main streets, the Buffalo Department of Public Works clears the snow.
Who is responsible for snow removal at bus stops?
In the City of Buffalo, the nearest property owner is responsible for clearing bus stops of snow and ice. Contact information for other towns and villages can be found at http://metro.nfta.com/Programs/Winter.aspx.
What happens if I fail to remove the snow?
Owners of properties where snow is not cleared are subject to fines of up to $225.
If I see a sidewalk that has not been cleared, how can I report this?
Properties that are not cleared can be reported at the City of Buffalo’s Call & Resolution Center by calling 311 (open from 8:30 to 4:30 M-F) or 716-851-4890; by going online at https://www.buffalony.gov and clicking 311 in the marquee; or by downloading the City of Buffalo 311 app.
I do not want to get my neighbors in trouble; is there anything else I ought to do?
You can ask them to clear the sidewalk, either in person or in writing (e.g., leaving a note in their mailbox). They can be informed that they are responsible and subject to fines for noncompliance, may be losing business due to being inaccessible, and could face lawsuits in the event of pedestrian injury. In some districts, a merchants’ association might be an added resource, volunteering to clear sidewalks or acting as a clearinghouse for reports.
What do I do if I am unable to remove sidewalk snow due to my health or my age?
Neighbors, especially those who use snow blowers, may wish to voluntarily assist you. Please contact your Councilmember and ask for help.