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Syracuse officials announce new steps to tackle an old problem: snowy sidewalks

A main part of Mayor Ben Walsh's plan is to increase awareness of existing ordinances that require property owners to clear their sidewalks.

With a storm on the way, the new mayor of Syracuse says he's making good on a campaign promise and taking a new approach on an old problem: snow covered sidewalks.

A main part of Mayor Ben Walsh's plan is to increase awareness of existing ordinances that require property owners to clear their sidewalks.

"All department heads and city managers have committed to ensure that snow is removed as quickly as possible during snow storms," Walsh said Friday. "It starts with us."

It's an issue Common Council President Helen Hudson says has put people in danger.

"I'm driving by and noticing all these people walking in the streets because they haven't cleared the sidewalks on Erie Boulevard and places like that and that's huge," Hudson said. "That's dangerous and we can not afford to lose another life."

When sidewalks aren't cleared, Walsh said people will now be able to report it on the city's website.

"We are stepping up using data to guide us," Walsh said. "We'll be city wide and make sure to start in the area most likely to have problems."

The city also plans to crack down on cars parked in the way of plows. The Department of Public Works has been given the power to ticket and even tow cars that are in the way.

"So if there's a car there and we're trying to clear the road you may come out and it may not be there," Hudson said.

The city plans to hold a snow safety summit on February 15 to get more input and ideas from the public on how to handle snow as well.

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