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Sidewalks not cleared of snow pose challenges, can bring $50 fine

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WISH) — After Monday’s snowstorm, some sidewalks along Meridian Street and other parts of the city haven’t been cleared, so pedestrians and people in wheelchairs can find it hard to get to places.

“Even if you have a caretaker with you that’s helping you get around, it’s just going to take three times as long to get anywhere,” said David Dreith, president and chief executive office of Easterseals Crossroads.

According to the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, the city relies on its homeowners and businesses to help remove the snow on the sidewalks and make it passable. If the snow isn’t removed, homeowners and businesses could be fined $50 unless the snow was thrown on the sidewalk by a snowplow.

“So, we encourage everyone to make sure that they’re being a good neighbor and getting out to make sure that those sidewalks are cleared,” said Ben Easley, spokesperson for Public Works.

The nonprofit Easterseals Crossroads is raising concerns about the impact snow-covered sidewalks can have on those with disabilities; people in wheelchairs face a host of challenges when trying to maneuver through the sidewalks.

“As you can imagine, using a wheelchair to get around on a day that there isn’t snow, it can be challenging, fitting in tight spaces, navigating curb cuts, etc., but when the snow has covered up the sidewalks in many cases or has been plowed into a mound at a curb cut, it makes it extra difficult,” Dreith said.

“It’s been inconsistently done,” Dreith said. “Business to business, you’ll see a stretch of sidewalk that’s very neatly shoveled and salted, and then it hasn’t been shoveled at all and maybe it started to ice over.”

Getting to a bus stop can be a challenge, too. The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corp. told News 8 it doesn’t have much control over how snow gets cleared.

Overall, community leaders say it’s up to the community to be “all hands on deck” to clean up the sidewalks and help make a difference.

“All of us as residents in the city should be watching our sidewalks and making sure they’re clean as much as we possibly can,” Dreith said.

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