Despite complaints, Denver inspectors issuing few tickets for icy sidewalks following snowstorm

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DENVER — Denver’s Community Planning and Development department has received hundreds of complaints about icy patches on north-facing sidewalks since the snowstorm on Nov. 25.

The department has performed 1,826 inspections as of Tuesday night and of those inspections, 38 citations have been issued, according to the department.

“We’re not in the business of issuing tickets,” said Amanda Weston with the department. “We’re in the business of educating.”

Weston says following a complaint, inspectors will try to make contact with the homeowner, often giving multiple warnings over a few days.

“Once residents know, typically, they clear their sidewalks,” she said. “They know it’s a safety hazard and they want to make sure everyone feels safe walking around.”

But Wednesday morning, inspectors were forced to ticket a home at West Second Avenue and Delaware Street, where ice still covers the sidewalk on the north side of the home.

“I’m afraid to fall, I’m afraid for my kids to fall,” said Dana Trujillo-Davis.

Trujillo-Davis walks her kids to nearby DCIS at Fairmont, and says multiple neighbors have called 311 to report the home.

“Unfortunately, this is one of those houses that chronically doesn’t shovel their walks,” she said.

Trujillo-Davis says it’s disappointing to see the city not issuing more tickets.

“I personally have experienced them giving plenty of tickets for parking, so it would be nice if they would kind of equalize it a little bit,” she said.

But Weston says the department has no plans to change its enforcement strategy.

“Our main goal is to talk to the homeowner, talk to the business owner, find out why they haven’t shoveled there sidewalk and educate them on the rules that we have in Denver about sidewalk clearance,” she said.

Weston recommends talking to your neighbor before filing a complaint.

She says inspectors routinely find people with disabilities, or who are elderly, and unable to clear the sidewalk.

Inspectors will often help that person shovel instead of issuing a warning.

If all else fails, you can call 311 to report a problem sidewalk to the city.

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