Posted tagged ‘Snow shoveling’

Is There a Practical Way to Encourage More Businesses to Shovel Sidewalks During Snow Events?

February 17, 2016

(Example of unshoveled sidewalk at H&Pizza during the January blizzard (from Twitter))

Shoveling sidewalks continued to be an issue during the Presidents Day Holiday snow and ice event, reminding me that not everyone took the time to shovel their walkways. While it can be difficult at times to clear snow from sidewalks immediately after a snow event — and the two feet we received in January was a major challenge — most residents and many businesses did an overall good job of clearing the sidewalks.

One question that I’ve been asked a couple of times is: “What about businesses that are open for business but don’t shovel their walks, shouldn’t they be held to a higher standard?” While I’m not sure if there is a practical way to address this issue, I do personally feel that if a business has enough staff on site to open, they definitely should be able to shovel their sidewalks. Currently those who do not shovel their sidewalks risk being fined (seniors and those with disabilities can register for an exemption), but I’m unaware of anyone actually receiving a fine. This is not surprising as the city’s primary focus will always be clearing the streets to maintain public safety and restore normal transportation operations.

If the District actually had the people necessary to issue fines for unshoveled sidewalks, fines for unshoveled walkways at businesses open and operating could be doubled as an incentive … but then again, fines aren’t always the right way to go. Perhaps a better way to go would be to focus on getting the Georgia Avenue Main Streets up and running. A Main Streets could take on the responsibility of coordinating the clearing of Georgia Avenue’s sidewalks during bad weather.

Hopefully we’ve seen the end of snowy weather for the season and we can find a solution prior to the next season.

Snow is Coming! — DPW Begins Sidewalk Shoveling Campaign

December 11, 2015

Yesterday, many residents of the District received a mailer informing homeowners about snow shoveling rules. While its a little hard to think about winter with 60° weather, snow is always a concern during the winter so its good to start thinking about it. Below is the front of the flyer that was distributed:


The mailer outlines that all property owners are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and ramps within 24hrs after the end of a storm. If they do not, they may receive either a $25 (residents) or a $150 (commercial) fine. The elderly and people with disabilities living in their own homes are exempt from this requirement (sidewalk exemption form here). You can also read the full winter safety rules here.

Story for the Day … Snow!

February 13, 2014

With everything shut down today due to the snow, the only thing one can do is shovel the walkways, perhaps go out and play with the kids, and stay safe and warm inside. If you have any seniors or neighbors in need of assistance today, please consider lending a hand or checking in on them.

Below is a photo I found in the Library of Congress collection showing snow clean up in Washington, probably from the 1920s. While the vehicles have changed and we now have plows on the roads, most of us still rely on shovels, muscles, and determination to clear our sidewalks.

Af Am men shoveling snow

Is Anyone Interested in Forming Snow Shoveling Teams This Winter?

November 26, 2013

District Snow Team
Here’s a news release from the Department of Public Works and Department of Transportation that I’ve long thought was a great idea — organizing snow shoveling teams to help clear area sidewalks and dig out cars in the event of a heavy snow winter. This would be especially helpful to our community’s senior residents. If there is enough interest, we could reach out to the Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center and offer to partner with them. The full news release is below:




(Washington, DC) The DC Snow Team (Department of Public Works and Department of Transportation) is asking residents to reach out to their neighbors to organize snow shoveling teams to clear sidewalks after it snows.  The District requires property owners (residential and commercial) to clear the sidewalks surrounding their property within 24 hours after a snowfall.

“While our last two winters produced less than four inches of snow between them, we do remember the winter of 2009-2010,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr.  “Anyone who endured two back-to-back blizzards in February 2010 knows that having help shoveling snow makes the job a lot easier than doing it alone.”

Director Howland noted that Serve DC – The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism, , along with the Office on Aging and the Department of Disability Services, is organizing teams to help elderly and disabled residents with clearing their sidewalks of snow and ice.

Serve DC Executive Director Jeffrey D. Richardson, MSW, said, “We are excited to mobilize residents to leverage the power of service and volunteerism to meet this community need. Volunteers across the District will check on their assigned neighbors, provide assistance and report back to us. We’ll also be prepared to respond to spontaneous requests for those with critical needs.”

“Even a dusting of snow can be too much for elderly or disabled residents to shovel,” said DDOT Director Terry Bellamy.  “That’s why we are asking you to volunteer your services and make winter a little easier on everyone.”

Throughout the winter, Director Howland asks everyone to keep up with the weather forecast.  “Sometimes, all that is needed to keep a sidewalk clear is pre-treating it with a deicer, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter before snow begins to fall,” he said.

%d bloggers like this: