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Grand Rapids to clear snow from 170+ miles of sidewalks in ongoing pilot program

From December 2022 to April 2023, the contractors on behalf of the City of Grand Rapids will clear more than 170 miles of sidewalks in the pilot area.
Snow and ice covered sidewalk, stock image.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids will continue clearing snow from certain sidewalks this winter as part of an ongoing pilot program adding about 60 miles of coverage along major streets.

The Sidewalk Snow Support pilot program began in December 2020 after a noticeable increase in annual snowfall. On average annually, Grand Rapids sees about 72 inches of snowfall. 

Utilizing a contractor, crews will clear off sidewalks along main roads and designated neighborhoods once there are more than 3 inches of snow.

"Ultimately, property owners are still responsible for clearing their sidewalks. But we have some designated areas that we're working in. This is the fourth year of the program. And so we've been trying different avenues. We've expanded the program this year to a little over 170 miles," Grand Rapids Public Works Director John Gorney said.

While the city says they've received a lot of positive feedback, there are challenges they face each year, including staffing and the sheer number of sidewalks across Grand Rapids. 

"What we did last year was we had an in-house staff. We wanted to try to see if we could handle some of the work with in-house. But it was a challenge due to finding seasonal help to get in those pieces of equipment to help us out," Gorney said.

The main roadblock to expanding the program at this point comes down to funding, Gorney said. 

Here is a map of the city streets this year's pilot program covers: 

You're asked to keep trash carts, vehicles and objects off of the sidewalks so that crews can efficiently clear the snow.

You can learn more about the pilot program here. 


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