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Digging Out PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Thursday, 11 February 2010

digging outWith the sun shining and winds starting to subside, plows and salt trucks are out in force today. As everyone starts to dig out from this historic snowstorm, here are some helpful tips and information:

Plowing Streets

Plows will focus first on snow emergency routes and major roads to clear them for emergency vehicles. Next, they’ll start tackling the side and smaller streets. Not seeing a plow on your street? There are several ways to get feedback to DDOT and the Snow Command Center:

- Call 311 to report the block needing a plow or salt.
- Send an email to Tommy ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ); he’s coordinating with the plow crews as he hears about streets needing attention.
- Send a Tweet to @DDOTDC and DDOT staff will respond to your request.

Shoveling Sidewalks

We put up a handy guide about shoveling sidewalks the other day. It’s a very serious issue and sidewalks need to be cleared for pedestrians. A quick reminder:

- Residents and businesses are responsible for shoveling their sidewalks.
- DDOT is responsible for shoveling walks in city public spaces.
- Federal agencies, such as the National Park Service, are responsible for shoveling sidewalks at parks they control and manage – such as Seward Square Park or “pocket parks” such as those at Pennsylvania Ave and 11th Street SE. Tommy has already been in touch with NPS asking them to clear these walks as soon as possible.

Trash Pick-up

With most alleys impassable, DPW is not collecting trash from the alleys. Some trash collection trucks are out on the roads today. DPW has requested that residents move their trash to curbside pickup and place them in dark colored bags on the mornings of regularly scheduled collection (please note: you do not need to move your supercan to the curb, just the bag). They have suspended recycling collection until next week. Here’s the latest announcement from DPW.


Readers have left 5 comments.
(1) Untitled
2010-02-12 10:23:59
How many fines have been issued for sidewalks that remain un-shoveled? Absolutely ridiculous that there are still sidewalks that arenít passable. This forces pedestrians into the streets which are already narrow and barely passable.

No one is going to take the sidewalk clearing seriously unless you dole out some fines. Failure to issue fines directly reflects on you Tommy Wells!
(2) Untitled
2010-02-12 10:44:01
You're right; clearing the sidewalks is a very serious issue.

And in relation to fines, we put up a post earlier on this issue. Under current DC law, there are no fines for not shoveling the sidewalks. The city's only recourse is to sue the property owner. Not surprisingly, that doesn't happen very often.

Tommy has introduced legislation specifically to change the law so that the city can give a citation and fine when the sidewalk isn't cleared. He and Mary Cheh introduced the bill in December. Unfortunately, a hearing still hasn't been scheduled on the bill.

Here's a link with more information: http://www.tommywells.org/content/view/846/30/.

Written by Charles Allen ()
(3) Untitled
2010-02-12 13:26:14
Ok, so you're saying there is nothing you can do about it and you hope I don't break my leg. Thanks for nothing.

How about you contact the land owners and wake them up to the fact they are legally required to shovel the sidewalks? How many landowners have you contacted in the last week?? I've written emails and letters to 6.

Written by Guest User ()
(4) Untitled
2010-02-12 13:31:08
Perhaps my response wasn't clear enough. Tommy is pushing to do exactly what you're asking for -- create fines for property owners that don't clear their sidewalks.

If you could let us know what properties you're referencing, we'll be happy to do everything we can to ask them to clear the sidewalks.

But until there's an enforceable law on the books --which is what Tommy is pushing for -- the city doesn't have very many enforcement options.

Written by Charles Allen ()
(5) Untitled
2010-02-12 16:06:42

Great point! We contacted the federal National Park Service a couple of days ago. They have yet to send the plows for the sidewalks around the parks they control (outside of the Mall). We're reaching out to Congresswoman Norton as well to help put some pressure on NPS to take care of their sidewalks.
Written by Charles Allen ()
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