MADISON (WKOW)-- Walking on the sidewalk during a Wisconsin winter can sometimes be a dangerous affair. After a week of negative temps there are quite a few spots out there that could cause easily problems for people walking by.
That's why Madison city officials are urging everyone to properly clear city sidewalks this winter.
"We're only the enforcement arm," Madison property maintenance supervisor Kyle Bunnow says. "It's only when the community steps up and says we want our sidewalks cleared and they start reporting problems that we're able to go out and address them."
So far this winter the city has issued just over 250 tickets for improperly cleaned sidewalks. It's a fair amount, but nothing compared to last year when more than a thousand tickets were handed out during one of the snowier winters on record.
Slick spots on the sidewalk can be tough to navigate through for the average person, but for people using crutches or wheelchairs, snow and ice can literally take away their independence. Clifford Blackwell knows this all too well.
"You wind up a prisoner in your own home," Blackwell says. "You just can't get around."
Being blind Blackwell relies on his cane to help him navigate from his home to his office in the city-county building in downtown Madison. Last winter he got lost several times because of un-shoveled sidewalks.
He and a few others in the community will appear in a brand new public service announcement put out by the city of Madison
"One of the things that's really important for people with disabilities is the ability to move around town independently and when there's snow and ice on the sidewalks that becomes a really major challenge," city disability rights specialist Jason Glozier says.
The challenge can easily be prevented by courteous neighbors lending a shovel or a bag of road salt to properly clean the sidewalk.
"If you get to it sooner rather than later it's going to be easier for you to remove and you're not going to have to worry about getting a ticket," Bunnow says.
A ticket will cost you $124 the first time and $187 each time after that.
The new public service announcement will soon run on several Madison radio and television stations, including here at WKOW channel 27.
To watch the PSA visit this page on the city of Madison's website: