SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – More than a dozen complaints about icy sidewalks have been reported to the village through the SOConnect app.
Snow removal is the responsibility of property owners. The village code states: “The owner or tenants of lands abutting upon the public streets and highways of the village shall remove or cause to be removed from abutting sidewalks and of said streets or highways (all snow or ice).”
But with recent storms, pedestrians have been forced to navigate icy sidewalks and mounds of snow.
“The commute to work has become a real danger,” said pedestrian Mike Langer, who walks to the train station in South Orange almost every morning. “I’ve already fallen a few times this winter just from walking down the sidewalk.”
Fourteen separate instances of poor winter maintenance and icy conditions were reported last week using the app. Of those 14 reports, 11 have been marked completed by the administrator. The app features a status bar so users can track whether their concerns have been addressed.
The complaints stem from the failure of businesses or homeowners to remove snow and ice by the village deadline: “All snow or ice from commercial properties within four hours of daylight after the same shall fall or be formed thereon or noon, whichever is later. All snow and ice from residential properties within 12 hours of daylight after the same shall fall or be formed thereon.”
The village can clear sidewalks and then bill the property owner for the expense. Village officials did not return requests for information about whether that action has been taken this season.
Residents who want to alert the village to problems can use SOConnect, which can be found in Apple & Android app stores. It allows users to post threads containing the location and a photograph of the obstruction.