Sidewalk Snow Removal

A Partnership between the City and its Residents

The property owner's responsibility:
The Code of the City of Rochester, New York specifically states that property owners (in the case of commercial properties, first floor tenants) have a legal obligation to clear sidewalks adjacent to their properties of obstructions including snow, ice, and snowplow residue. See the sections of the city code detailing a property owner's snow removal obligations.

The City's role:
The City of Rochester provides supplemental service to help property owners clear their sidewalks during a substantial winter storm. Rochester is one of the few cities in the United States to provide this service to its residents.

Sidewalk Snow Plowing Facts

  • The City plows sidewalks when 4” of new snow has freshly fallen, dependent upon weather events and forecasts, and the condition of the sidewalks.
  • The City plows all sidewalks that are at least five feet in width.
  • Each sidewalk plow run takes about five hours to complete.
  • The City plows 878 miles of sidewalks. These miles are divided into distinct sidewalk plow runs of approximately 15 miles.
  • Depending on the severity of a storm, sidewalk snow plowing policies must sometimes be altered to meet the needs of the situation.
  • The City uses private contractors to plow sidewalks.
  • Sidewalk plowing usually happens in the evening and early morning when pedestrian traffic is lowest, but this schedule is modified to respond to actual storm conditions.


Sidewalk snow plowing is financed by an embellishment fee on your property tax bill that is based on the front footage of a property. Please see Embellishment Charges for Local Works for additional information.