Will DC Enforce the Law on Shoveling Sidewalks?

by Borderstan.com February 10, 2010 at 12:30 am 3,495 25 Comments

snowpocalypse, snowmageddon, Luis Gomez Photos, 17th Street NW, Dupont Circle

Monday evening at 17th and Corcoran NW: An unshoveled stretch of the block.

When is DC going to start enforcing the city law on shoveling sidewalks? It is a matter of safety as well as necessity for residents. I realize the city, all of us, have been overwhelmed by the unexpected and abnormal amounts of snow over the past few days. But sidewalks are a vital part of residents’ transportation, just like roadways.

This is especially true in downtown neighborhoods such as Dupont, Logan, U Street, Shaw, Adams Morgan, etc. Many residents don’t own cars and many of us don’t use them unless we must. This is downtown, not the exurbs and the carless pay DC taxes just like car owners. Moreover, sidewalks are a form of mass transportation–especially when Metrobus and Metrorail are close to being shut down due to snow.

Here is the DC law. From the District of Columbia Snow Guide 2009-2010:

Residents are responsible for clearing sidewalks
District law requires property owners to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, handicap ramps and steps abutting their property within the first eight daylight hours after the snow, sleet or ice stops falling. This applies to all property owners – residential, commercial, federal, and municipal. If ice cannot be cleared without damaging the sidewalk, then property owners may spread sand or salt to make the sidewalks safe. Property owners also must clear snow from the ADA-curb cuts; these are part of the sidewalk. Property owners are asked to clear snow from catch basins and storm drains to prevent flooding during snow melt.

Note: In December the Prince of Petworth did a post, “Sidewalks of Shame” on this issue as did 14th & You yesterday, “14th & You PSA: Please shovel your walk.”

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