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Posted at 8:20 AM ET, 02/ 3/2010

Sidewalk shirkers should be told: 'Shovel or pay'

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Harald Fuller-Bennett,
Washington

On Saturday, the District endured a moderate snowstorm. Sunday, however, was sunny and warm. The snow was still fluffy on the ground, and it was perfect shoveling weather. But many residents and businesses in my neighborhood, Petworth, chose to ignore their civic and legal responsibility to clear the snow and ice from in front of their properties.

I shoveled my sidewalk — it took all of 15 minutes. By Monday night, after two freeze-and-thaw cycles, the snow left on the walks elsewhere had become a treacherous ice slick, difficult for anyone to walk over and even harder to remove. Now more snow has fallen, and there’s another storm in the forecast.

I have not seen the D.C. authorities take any action, however. Are tickets being issued? The law is on the books, and it should be enforced. If residents cannot get off of their lazy behinds and spend a few minutes removing snow, then the city should remind them of their responsibility.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | February 3, 2010; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, weather  
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Comments

Agreed. You know what's interesting, in my Columbia Heights neighborhood, the worst offenders are the churches...you'd think they would shovel their sidewalks, you would be wrong. The charter school across the street is pretty bad too, as are the small parks. Most prompt: small houses and massive apartment buildings.

Posted by: ajbouche | February 3, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Churches that don't shover their sidewalk should be burnt down.

Who goes to church anyways, besides gullible, brainwashed people?

Posted by: kenk3 | February 3, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. It's dangerous. Imagine how they would howl if the streets weren't plowed. You want the house? Live up to your responsibility. Thank you.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 3, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

even old people?

Posted by: sprite977 | February 3, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

This is just an indication of the lack of enterprising youths in DC...if the kids had any intelligence, they would run out after a good snow with shovels in hand, looking for people willing to pay them a few bucks to shovel the walk. That would be cheaper than paying a fine...if DC ever enforced the law.

Posted by: akchild | February 4, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Personally I think we should ban the weather from snowing in the District. That will solve the problem.

Posted by: andrewhelms | February 4, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

DC secret - while it is law that both owners and renters are responsible for cleaning the snow off their sidewalk, the law includes no provision for a fine of any type and no agency is charged with enforcing it. You'll never see a ticket in DC for failing to remove the snow. It's unfortunate because leaving the snow out there puts people at risk and it is frequently those who own vacant property and churches that are the worst offenders aside from the DC government itself, which owns various buildings in the city. And good neighbors break their backs to pick up the slack. There ought to be a fine.

Posted by: carysilverman | February 7, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

While I cannot testify to have ever seen or heard of this law being enforced, the following comes from the DC Department of Transportation website:

"According to the municipal Code, if property owners fail to comply, the District is required to clear their sidewalks (DC Code, 2001 Ed., § 9-605) and sue the property owners for the cost of clearing the snow or ice plus a $25 fine (DC Code, 2001 Ed., § 9-606)."

(http://ddot.dc.gov/ddot/cwp/view,a,1256,q,639376,ddotnav,|32397|.asp)

Posted by: hfb81 | February 8, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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