Residents of Baltimore are required to make reasonable efforts to maintain the sidewalks adjacent to their property amid wintry conditions. The local government recognizes the importance of preventing potential injuries that may be incurred from accumulations of snow and ice. The law requires that a two-foot wide path is created (cleared) along these sidewalks in all commercial and residential settings. Those who violate the ordinance may face a fine of $50 for residential and $100 for commercial properties.
The Timing for Snow and Ice Removal
Compliance with the removal of snow and ice is required within three hours after the adverse weather system has passed. If the snowfall event occurs before 6:00 am, the deadline is moved ahead to 11 am This also applies to the ramps that may exist connected to crosswalks. Residents who notice that sidewalk accumulations have not been cleared after a period of 24 hours should report the location of the violation by calling 311.
Assistance With Removal
What about residents who are elderly, disabled, or otherwise unable to clear a pathway? The Baltimore City Department of Transportation has established a program of assistance for those unable to physically remove snow and ice. These individuals must complete an application to qualify. Those under 65-years-of-age must also provide some supportive documentation such as proof of Social Security Supplemental Income, a disability license from the Motor Vehicle Administration, or similar information.
Other Hazardous Sidewalk Conditions
Another local program known as “Sidewalk Sam” is designed for repairing or replacing damaged sidewalks. This program began in 2008 and has since led to over 500,000 square feet of sidewalk improvements. Owners of property are responsible for repairing or replacing dangerous conditions that develop on their sidewalk. Those who are issued a notice of violation may choose to either remedy the problem themselves or have the city conduct the repairs or replacement. When the city completes a sidewalk renovation on your behalf they will issue a bill for the work to the property owner.
Premises Liability Overview
When a property owner provides consent or is aware that another person is on their property, they have a duty to prevent potential injuries from dangerous conditions that exist. This duty does not generally apply when the individual on the premises is a trespasser unless the injuries were inflicted willingly or intentionally. Examples of potential hazards include damage to a staircase, a potentially dangerous dog or presence of a large hole in the ground. Cases of this nature are those within the area of law called premises liability. Common examples of negligence among property owners or controllers include:
- Failure to remove a hazard: A customer of a retailer slips on a spilled liquid that the supervisor was aware of (or should have been)
- Failure to warn of dangerous condition: Property owner simply forgets to tell his guest that he has an aggressive dog and injuries are incurred
- Failing to maintain: Property owner neglects to inspect and maintain the condition of the property
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