Police Chief

Ask the Chief

“Ask The Chief” is a weekly post allowing readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in the city of Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance our community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs, and the Department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us. 

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Oct 14

October 14, 2019 - Sidewalks & Acorns

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 10:36 AM by Kate Berg

October 14, 2019

Ask the Chief

Q: I frequently walk in a neighborhood with adult trees, this year the walnuts/acorns seemed to be plentiful, which makes it difficult to walk on some sidewalks covered with acorns. I know that sidewalks must be cleared of snow and ice in the wintertime; does that law also apply to the walnuts and acorns that cover a sidewalk?

Photo of autumn acorns above the words, "Sidewalks & Acorns; Pedestrian Safety & Sidewalk Etiquet

A: Thank you for your question. There is no city code or state statute that requires walnuts/acorns that have naturally fallen from trees to be cleared from the sidewalk. Red Wing City Code, Chapter 7, Streets and Sidewalks covers upkeep and maintenance of sidewalks and the definition of “obstructions” of public sidewalks. By definition, obstruction of a public sidewalk would be a misdemeanor for any person to place, deposit, display or offer for sale any items or materials on a public sidewalk. The City Code goes on to discuss what types of material may be considered obstructions and dumping violations, which includes leaves, grasses, and tree limbs, to name just a few products of nature.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials states that sidewalks play a vital role in city life. As conduits for pedestrian movement and access, they enhance connectivity and promote walking. Sidewalks also provide a safe opportunity for our mobility impaired neighbors, friends, and residents to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Therefore, even though we do not have a law requiring walnuts/acorns to be removed from the sidewalk, let's keep them clear for all members of our community to enjoy the beautiful outdoors of Red Wing.

References and Resources:

1. City of Red Wing, City Code, Chapter 7, Streets and Sidewalks. Located online at: http://lf.ci.red-wing.mn.us/weblink/0/doc/52268/Page1.aspx

2. National Association of City Transportation Officials, value of sidewalks, located online at: https://nacto.org/…/urban…/street-design-elements/sidewalks/

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