Dear PoP – Sidewalks of Shame


I was pretty disappointed with a few CVS stores I saw around town that hadn’t shoveled their walks. (Above from 14th and W Streets, NW) Herb writes:

“It’s particularly bad when even the Post Office at 14th and T hasn’t shoveled its sidewalk.

Cricket at 14th and U is another offender. Pictures taken around 11:30 pm today (Monday).”



For those that walked around town today – were the sidewalks passable?

54 Comment

  • How do you report these deadbeats? It’s D.C. law that property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks clean, and they can be fined for failing to do so.

    • This is a really good question, and if PoP provided the answer I’m sure a lot of us would take advantage of the information. I walked today from my house to the post office on Georgia Avenue, and was astounded at how many property owners, commercial and private, had not cleared their sidewalks. A citation-and-fine blitz would be welcome (and, from all appearances, would generate a ton of revenue for the city!).

    • to go to the other EXTREME .. on my way to work this morning I saw a guy drying the already shoveled sidewalk with a leaf blower. That’s right… he was drying a sidewalk.

  • Howard University has not cleared any sidewalks. Once again Howard U proves it has no concern for the folks of DC and has no sense of community. Even abandoned buildings next to their dorms have cleared their sidewalks but nooo not Howard, the students are out so they must assume that anyone left in DC is without worth.

    • I just mentioned this to John Salatti — I can’t believe what a bad neighbor Howard U is. I just got back from a walk and the sidewalk in front of Slowe Hall is STILL not plowed.

  • Whole Foods cleared their walks outside the store, but once again has ignored the walk in front of their employee parking lot on Church Street. Even after I reminded the manager, nothing happened.

  • ~20″ snowfall is deceptive.

    i shoveled my stairs and sidewalk 4x during the snowfall over 48 hours.

    at each shovel, an hour later you’d not be able to see any results what so ever!

  • All my neighbors on the 1600 blocks of Newton and Monroe shoveled their sidewalk. All neighbors save Canaan Baptist Church.

    & I’m grateful to my neighbor Tony who shoveled my sidewalk, walkway, front steps and porch. A good neighbor!

  • You can call 311 to report the deadbeats.

  • If memory serves me correctly, it’s a relatively small fine, which really should be increased to be more effective, and I think a ticket needs to be issued for the fine, and officers are unlikely to be dispatched for such a small infraction. I called 311 on the Marriott Wardman Park a few years ago for failure to clean the sidewalk along their property on Woodley Road and even contacted the hotel regarding the matter, but nothing ever came of it. You’d probably be best off to contact your ANC rep and/or your council member.

  • We’ve got complaints like this? Have you all gone mad? Put the energy to better use and let the sunlight melt it all. Enjoy the snow for what it is.

    I just wish DDOT would get the parking areas all cleaned out, what is one to do if they drive away and can’t find a cleared out parking spot upon return? Park in the middle of the road?

    • Uh @Amazed, you’re kidding right? You’re being sarcastic right? If not,you must not actually walk anywhere…and if you do, clearly you’re an able-bodied adult.

      • I assume amazed is someone that lives in Olney or drives everywhere.

        • I’m a 100% pedestrian and I live in Petworth, and I think the whining about sidewalk clearing is semi-stupid. I know, I know, someone could slip and fall. And obviously it’s hard for people who are not able-bodied. It’s hard for us who are!
          But also, it was a blizzard.
          Be careful. Wear proper shoes.
          Have fun.
          Enjoy the beautiful snowfall.
          And stop whining and trying to get your neighbors in trouble for eff’s sake. Maybe those people who aren’t clearing their sidewalks aren’t able-bodied. Did you think about that? Maybe they’re out of town. Maybe they don’t have a shovel. Same goes for, say, whoever was working at the post office that morning.
          Everyone take a deep breath.

          • If the 14th and T Post Office is so full of infirm workers perhaps they should hire someone to clean the sidewlks for them (I checked again this morning and it was still a solid sheet of ice–inexcusable),

          • What about people who rely on the sidewalks to get to work and depend on work to live?

    • You say don’t complain about sidewalks that haven’t been cleared, then complain about parking spots not being cleared. Nice!

  • I agree that the violators should be heavily fined. My walk down 13th St. yesterday morning was downright treacherous, even in my snow boots. If I fall and have medical bill, better believe I’m suing.

    That said, I also think this is something the city should be partially responsible for as well.

    • Is it because I’m a klutz who is likely to fall all the time that I think it’s ridiculous to say you’re going to sue if you fall down in the snow? That it’s crazy what we’ve come to in this society that you should sue someone because you slipped on snow in the winter weather?
      Maybe it’s just me.
      Apparently it’s just me.

      • It’s not the fact that you fell, it’s the fact that you fell *because someone was negligent and didn’t clear the sidewalk like they’re required to by law*. Big difference.

  • My parent’s town in Massachusetts has this nifty mini plow that they use on all of the sidewalks, residential and by most businesses. It does a great job but it makes sense that a town in Massachusetts, not DC has one. However, not having clean sidewalks is especially bad in the city, where there are so many pedestrians, that businesses aren’t doing a better job. Shame.

  • I’m with amazed. PoP has become WHINE CENTRAL. everyone is so put out by everything. deep breaths, relax, and love. quit complaining for one day

  • My neighbors were great! Almost everyone shoveled pretty promptly. Hell, I was probably considered a laggard for waiting until the snowfall was mostly done. The rest of my walk to the metro, however, was the usual DC slip-and-slide.

    I’m kind of puzzled by the parking rules, though. We tried to park legally digging our car out and finding a normally legal spot for Monday. It turns out that was a “snow emergency no parking” sign halfway up the block we missed. We got a ticket, as did about 20 other cars on the block. When we drove around, it seemed like the streets were roughly divided into “snow emergency no parking” because plowing was required and streets which were completely impassable for my little car because they were not plowed. We eventually found an open metered spot on an already-plowed major road where we left the car until the plows passed. But we were only able to find that because a car pulled out just as we drove past. Where is it that residents are supposed to park and how the devil am I supposed to figure it out?

  • I can live with nasty sidewalks on Saturday and Sunday. But the government gave us Monday off so by Tuesday morning sidewalks better be shovled. Think of all your elderly neighbors who could end up in the hospital after a fall. Also think of your elderly neighbors and shovel their walk.
    As for all the businesses that don’t shovel – you just made it easier as I decide where to spend my money.

  • My suggestion for fines. For commercial property: $1000 per standard lot frontage per day. For residential: $100 per standard lot frontage per day.

  • Not being able bodied is no excuse, there were kids coming around on Saturday night offering to shovel walks, if you cant do it then let them.

    Also it is a waste of effort to shovel before it stops snowing, people should be aware of that before they shovel 3 times only to see their work get covered up.

    Kudos to my block though, pretty much a clear path all the way down it.

    • a) nobody came by my house and offered to shovel…
      b) the reason why people start shoveling before it stops snowing is because that’s when the snow is the lightest and easiest to move, before it gets all packed down and icy. I’m not sure it saves on overall time, but it def. does on overall effort.

    • Actually probably the best thing you can do in heavy snowfall is to shovel early and often. Like E said, if you wait until its done you usually end up with a solid layer of ice underneath a heavy pile of wet snow. At least that’s how we handled all the snow when I was growing up in the snowbelt.

      • This is actually a mistake. You will end up working way more often and for longer total time including the getting ready and underessed each time. It is true you will have less heavy lifting but the key is to do the following.
        Let ALL the snow fall and then shovel it as soon as it stops or first thing in the morning before the sun gives it a chance to melt a bit and become super heavy. This way it will still be light and puffy and you can spend the whole snowfall watching it from your window with a beer in hand.

        • Not according to the US government if you need an official source for this kind of thing: However, I prefer to rely on my decades worth of experience shoveling snow for at least five months out of the year. Also, in places with regular heavy snowfall the snow may not stop for several days. In those cases, it is definitely not realistic to wait with a beer for it ALL to fall before shoveling since you actually have to go to work when its snowing up north.

          • I’ll drink to that. 20″ is nothing. Try 4′ and living on a road that doesn’t get plowed. Try shoveling all day and then having it ice up overnight so you still can’t get out in the morning. And what is up with the folding chairs and ladders? Share your efforts—it’s the holidays, you Crankasauruses!

    • Yeah, this is this the classic thinking of people who didn’t grow up with this crap every winter, all winter. My neighbors and I shoveled our sidewalks every couple of hours, and cleared our cars periodically as well, b/c it’s much, much easier when you do it a little at a time. (In fact I’m watching one of my neighbors try to dig his car out right now, and he looks fairly miserable since at this point the snow has a hard crust of ice on it and is all packed.)

      As for the sidewalks, I guess I see both sides. It snowed, so sidewalks are snowy. Why this comes as a shock to people is beyond me. Put boots on if you have to be out. I get that it can be dangerous, and people should make their best efforts, but the world is an imperfect place.

  • Houses I can deal with for not shoveling. It’s the f#cking Check Cashing Place on Georgia and Rock Creek Church that gets my goat. They are making a mint off my neighbors but can’t pay $25 to clear their sidewalks. I hate them more than ever!

  • I had to shovel the sidewalk and my stoop twice. I am glad I did, otherwise it would have been a lot more of it to shovel at one time. Also, I shoveled snow off of my deck over the garage to decrease load on the structure. I figured the snow might stick around for a while and could do serious damage to this flat raised surface.

    • hg – please excuse my ignorance, but what kind of damage can be caused to a flat raised surface? our condo building has a flat roof and i’m on the top floor, should i be concerned?

      • Collapse. 20″ of snow is a hell of a lot of dead load. If the roof it constructed to code you should have nothing to worry about though.

  • The city itself is one of the biggest scofflaws: take a look at the sidewalks around the dog park at 17th and S. Not even touched.

    For all those who say this is whining – you’re joking, right? You must be – I refuse to believe that educated people can be so obtuse and ignorant.

    Snow removal from sidewalks is about as basic as it gets for good city management and being a good citizen. Useable sidewalks is also a civil right. How come other cities all over the world can get their sidwalks clean, but DC can’t? It is a HUGE hazard.

    You can’t take a baby stroller out (I know from experience). So people with babies don’t have the right to leave their house when it snows?

    Yesterday I saw a man in a wheel chair on the side walk along U Street get stuck, have to go back the other way, then ride in the street – is that safe? Or do people in wheel chairs also not have the right to leave their house in when it snows?

    What about old people with canes? Blind people? ANYONE in general?

    If you don’t think it’s a civil right to use the streets that your taxes pay for, think again. How pathetic.

  • My problem is with all the hipsters in the Heights who can manage to muster the energy to shovel and clean their walkways down to pavement from the front door to the curb or to their cars – and then leave the rest of their sidewalks completely snow covered. Of course these are the same selfish folks who don’t know how to cut grass, pull a weed or place trash in actual cans.

  • I saw a man on a wheel chair go down Georgia Ave because he could not use the sidewalks on Monday morning. What a disgrace.

    In regards to the fines, one has never been written.

    I suggest everyone on here who feels as strongly as they have posted here, contact the mayor and their council member and demand that these fines be levied.

  • It doesn’t surprise me one bit that certain CVS stores failed to shovel their sidewalks. They don’t even bother to pick up track in front of their establishments which costs them absolutely nothing to do so. Call the store manager or their corporate office and report it. I’ve called restaurant and store managers many times about their civic duties to keep their sidewalks and their street gutters clean. A smart business will listen. A business with snow covered sidewalks, trash, or even a weed filled tree box in front of it doesn’t get a dime from me!

  • Add Daro Realty to the hall of shame. They own (amongst others) the properties on 16th street stretching from Spring Place to Spring Road. They are responsible for shoveling 16th Street, Spring Place, and Spring Road…and have shoveled exactly none of it.

    This is a big property management company with on-site maintenance staff who are paid to look after these things and yet when asked why they haven’t shoveled the walks, they simply say that it is too much work.

    • Oh, and Greater Greater Washington, in their article on the subject, point out the apartment building at 16th & Q has not shoveled their sidewalk on either 16th or Q. This building is also owned and operated by Daro Realty.

  • How about the Urban League on 14th and Harvard. Yesterday they plowed the snow from the entrance of their private, gated parking lot on to the SIDEWALK creating an impassable 3 foot high barrier! The URBAN LEAGUE!!! Granted these are the same people who routinely park on the sidewalk blocking egress down Harvard. Absolutely no regard for their neighbors. Fuck’em is what my Mom would say.

    The snow barrier has since been cleared.

  • Ghetto is as Ghetto does.

  • new hampy: I am sure your condo building is strong enough to support the additional weight due to the snow/ice. I am, however, not so sure how much additional weight my over the garage deck could take since it is an older structure. So I was just being cautious.

  • The thing that pisses me off is not the people that dont shovel at all. They are unabasahed about being lazy. it’s the people that shovel their sidewalks wide and just stop at the curb and don’t even shovel a little path onto the curb cut through the street. walking on snow on the sidewalk isnt even that bad, but climbing through big dirty piles of snow in the crosswalk is awful

  • in Shaw, everyone was pretty good about cleaning the sidewalks – except for the churches. Figures…

  • The back and forth about whether or not to shovel is stupid – it’s the law, citizens and their representative government have made it the law here as in most other municipalities. So, unless you think traffic lights, zoning regulations and all other laws are optional, clearing or having your sidewalk cleared is not optional. Grow up! For those of you who disagree, please stay off our cleared sidewalks and continue walking down the middle of the street! Calling 311 and reporting scofflaws does work – get your facts straight instead of making them up based on your perception. It may not be perfect, and yes some violators just continue to ignore the insufficient fines, but call and keep calling.
    KUDOS and THANKS to 1400 block of Q St where almost everyone cleaned their sidewalk promptly, with neighbors taking care of those owners who were away or should not be out shoveling; even the hydrants are cleared. Even now, residents are all over the block helping each other out. Once again, this excludes a few notable culprits, especially the condo at 15th and Q, who never shovel because they are just plain cheap or too lazy to deal with an issue most other condos seem to have no problem resolving. The church on 15th between Q and P also seems to think that it has no community responsibility.

Comments are closed.