Sidewalks of Shame – Ice and Slush Edition


A reader sends:

“Yesterday’s slushy disgusting mess is brought to you by 16th and Irving.”

In my walkabout around town yesterday I’d say it would be easier to identify folks who actually did shovel as it was few and far between. Props to DC USA who did a good job as well as some small businesses, pictured below, on Mt. Pleasant Street (though others on that street were pretty negligent.)


70 Comment

  • In Shaw/downtown, the worst sidewalks are all in front of developer-owned and city-owned properties. Hooray for good neighbors. Boo for developers who don’t take care of the sidewalks in front of their properties. Valor Development and Marriott, I’m looking at you. And DCDPW (?), please get your act together. The walks at Samuel Gompers Park and Thomson Elementary School (!) are a menace!

  • Blithe

    I saw a mention in DCist re: the DC Citizen Snow Team — which organizes volunteers to shovel snow for seniors and other people who would have difficulty shoveling their own walkways. I’d never heard of this before, and think it’s a great idea. Does anyone know if this program is effective? As in: do they get a lot of volunteers in neighborhoods where they’re needed, and do seniors know about the program and find it easy to access?

  • Please add the condo building on the corner of 10th and W to the list. Every other sidewalk around is shoveled (even the Sorg church previously featured), but they only shoveled the 10th St side that the residents use and left the W St side to turn into a sheet of ice.

    To make matters worst, part of the unshoveled sidewalk transitions right into the steep ramp that leads to the underground garage. It’s basically an amusement park ride, but less amusing.

  • There are two (I believe unoccupied) row homes/mansions on the 1700 block of R St NW, just west of Ross Elementary that are NEVER cleared. Bad enough for everyone, but those sidewalks have significant schoolkid traffic.

  • I was on Capitol Hill yesterday, and was surprised to find so many unshoveled sidewalks on East Capitol Street between 2nd and 4th. Since it was so warm on Sunday and I was wearing rain boots, it was just a slushy inconvenience and not a big deal… but unless those people did any shoveling in the late afternoon/evening, I assume that the slush froze overnight and is now posing an actual hazard.

  • About that stretch of sidewalk in the photo. There are schools on both sides. Since those two schools are closed on Sundays, why are you surprised that they sidewalks aren’t shoveled?

    I’d nominate the Moonie church on 16th and Columbia. They ought to keep it clear.

    • “Since those two schools are closed on Sundays, why are you surprised that they sidewalks aren’t shoveled?”
      Shouldn’t the D.C. government make some kind of effort to ensure that the sidewalks around D.C. government facilities are shoveled, whether those facilities are open or not??

    • Those schools are open today but it’s not a school day (parent teacher conferences). I’d imagine they’ll get shovelled today.

    • The school pictured above (on the South side of Irving at 16th and Irving) is a charter school and they NEVER shovel the sidewalk along the side on Irving street. It’s terrible and something needs to be done about it.

    • yeah, and your point is?

      my office was also closed on Saturday and Sunday, but they manage to get the whole thing shoveled, and we’re a freestanding building fully surrounded by sidewalks.

  • CVS at 14th and Irving. Sheet of ice this morning, where the WHS buses pick up.

    • I tried calling this CVS after I struggled with a rolling suitcase over the uneven icepack that is clearly their responsibility, and saw a gentleman in a wheelchair getting off one of those buses who would no doubt do the same. I was planning to inform them in a neighborly way of their responsibilities, as the snowfall finished on Saturday. (And perhaps remind them that they are at a heavily trafficked corner of the city that must make a ton of money based on the long lines of customers always there.) Their automated menu navigated me through speaking to a representative but then disconnected me. So I called corporate and spoke to a very sympathetic Northeasterner who said she’d escalate the complaint and make sure they took care of it or bring someone in who would. It was just the last straw of dealing with that location being so inadequately staffed and clearly poorly managed – not unlike the Giant up the street.

  • After reading about collapsing roofs and massive ice dams wreaking havoc on Boston residents I’m just not that sympathetic to the minor nuissance of a day of slush bothering pedestrians otherwise generally unimpacted. I shoveled but it was genuinely no BFD

    • It’s not just slush. It’s slush that then turns into a giant sheet of ice. I agree that Boston’s situation is thousands of times worse than ours, but that doesn’t mean that people should leave genuinely hazardous conditions outside of their businesses and homes.

    • Blithe

      If you’re not sympathetic, perhaps you’ve never taken a tumble on the ice, or tried to navigate with a wheelchair (I’ve done both) or a stroller. Not everyone is agile enough to regard icy or even snowy sidewalks as just a minor nuisance. I have a huge amount of sympathy for people who are physically unable to do their own shoveling — and I’m glad that neighbors, entrepreneurs, and volunteer organizations are available to help out at least some of these folks — as well as those of us who appreciate safer sidewalks.

    • Comparing our winter weather to Boston is the new “everything is better in NYC.”

      • but seriously — their dealing with something many times the order of magnitude of DC and complaining about it less. DC winter weather is at worst a nuissance . . . pretty much everything since Snowmadegon.

        • It’s more than a nuisance if someone didn’t shovel their sidewalk and as a result you slip and are hurt, or if you’re in a wheelchair and can’t maneuver properly.

    • There are some people who aren’t as steady on their feet as you may be. They may need to walk to get to the bus or train or car or grocery store or doctor apt or work. Taking half an hour to clear your walkway so others less able than you can function shouldn’t be too much to ask.

    • if that’s your line of thinking, you should be MORE annoyed at the non-shovelers. if all those people in boston can manage to get feet of snow out of the way, why would you give a pass to the lazy jerks around here who can’t manage to shovel 3 inches off their 10 feet of sidewalk?

    • Agreed slush isn’t that bad (as long as you have waterproof footwear), but I’m an able-bodied adult and almost wiped out 3 or 4 times on icy sidewalks walking to work this morning. If it was hazardous for me it’s even more so for elderly/disabled/children.

      • I have some serious snow boots with great traction and I had the same problem on my walk to metro. Frankly, I’d rather slip and fall into a 7 foot snow bank than on our slush turned icy pavement.

    • Compared to the massive property damage caused by hurricanes, I’m just not that sympathetic about collapsing roofs and massive ice dams in Boston.
      See what I did there? Ridiculous, isn’t it? Yes, it is.

      • Not to mention the Pacific Northwest, which has seen record high temperatures and record low snowfall. Many mountains have been forced to limit ski days and some have shut down entirely, severely impacting the fragile economies of ski towns. Additionally, low snowfall could result in an extremely dangerous situation come fire season if the spring is also dry and warm. The entire west could turn into a giant inferno that not even Dante could imagine.

        Yep. Totally ridiculous.

      • no it’s not — is anyone in DC losing enough work to potentially be unemployed? Or service related small businesses shut down due to the enormous financial hit of a month of persistently crippling snow?

        But your skate walk to one day of work (which was easily able to be open today), as well as public transit, roads, etc. makes your complaints valid and your inconvencience so heart breaking.

        • Unshoveled sidewalks can be dangerous, not just inconvenient. That’s why the city requires property owners to shovel them.
          Just because Things Are Worse in [insert city/country here] doesn’t mean that people’s complaints aren’t valid.

    • Someone is always going to have it worse off. That doesn’t make yesterday’s lakes of slush at every intersection or this morning’s treacherous sidewalks any more enjoyable.

    • By that same logic, couldn’t you not be sympathetic to the people who haven’t bothered to shovel because it is NBD? Besides, I’m usually a pedestrian, but I’ve had several leg surgeries which make one of my joints really unstable. I honestly can’t walk on ice. My leg won’t stay stable enough to support me without sliding, which then either aggravates the problem or makes me fall. And my leg problems are pretty minor compared to other people’s.

      • I don’t know — may like some of my coworkers they travel internationally frequently for work and weren’t in town to shovel in a timely manner.

        • Not an excuse. If they frequently travel, then they should’ve made arrangements for someone to shovel if it happened to snow while they were away.

        • If you’ve got the money to be in a situation where you have a freakin’ sidewalk that you’re responsible for, you have the money to pay the neighborhood kid or a service to take care of this stuff when you’re away. It’s called being prepared and knowing who to call. No excuses- if it was up to me, I’d be fining these idiots $400. With a $400 fine, I bet a lot of people would figure it out whether they were in this country or waking up in Singapore.

  • homerule

    The Federal government often doesn’t shovel the traffic circles (like Thomas Circle) and it can get really terrible with packed snow/ice.

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to change that?

    • As I understand it, those are all Park Service lands, and clearly the city has no influence over the Park Service. They rarely, if ever, shovel, and negotiating around and through Sherman Circle the last few days has been a real struggle. For some reason, though, Logan Circle is perfectly fine (although a bit icy this morning, but that was from melting snow on the otherwise clear pavement).

    • I’d love to hear any ideas how to change it. NPS seems impervious to shame.

    • It’s been mentioned before but I’ll say it again. NPS has faced years of budget cuts and furloughs, and it’s a largely seasonal agency. The lack of money and manpower in the winter makes shoveling snow difficult, especially in areas where snow removal is not automatically made a big part of the budget. Shaming NPS employees who are already stretched ridiculously thin is not going to solve this problem. It goes much bigger than that.

  • The sidewalks in front of UDC Law School were awful this morning – I wish I stopped to take a picture!

  • epric002

    1200 Shepherd St NW finally shoveled! 😀

  • Was similarly impressed with DCUSA’s snow clearing… the rest of 14th st and Columbia Heights, generally…. not so much.

    • Yup, most of 14th st is terrible. I run from Irving to about Florida to get to the gym and it was treacherous yesterday morning. Running in the snow when or right after it’s falling is no big deal, but the packed, icy mess yesterday was just dangerous. Not to mention the insane slush pools at every intersection. Should have been running in galoshes, but with studded treads. All these big condo buildings and most of them can’t be bothered to shovel even a single small path in the sidewalk.

  • Thank you, seriously, THANK YOU, to everyone who went out there and shoveled that slush this weekend– whether you were being paid to do it, volunteering, or obligated by law.

  • Pizza Hut on Georgia/Upshur/9th is never shoveled. Terrible neighbors.
    The Murrell building on the corner was completely shoveled despite being unoccupied. Go Paul Ruppert!!

  • Shoveling the slush was pretty easy. I don’t understand why more people didn’t seize the opportunity on Sunday — BIG difference between shoveling slush and shoveling re-frozen slush.

    • I think it’s because a) slush is much heavier and harder to shovel than snow, at least if you don’t know how to do it right, and b) it was warm and sunny and people were hoping it would melt away – no one that I spoke to seemed aware that temps were supposed to drop below freezing again and stay there until Wednesday. And if folks didn’t shovel snow on Saturday or slush on Sunday, I doubt they’re going to be too worried about clearing the ice today.

      • I did notice that the slush was pretty heavy when I was trying to lift up the shovel… but I was able to get a lot of it done without having to do all that much lifting.
        Yeah, I guess most people who couldn’t be bothered to shovel under good conditions won’t exactly be trying to shovel under more challenging conditions.

    • emvee

      I’m on the shady side of the street, so I shoveled what I could off the top yesterday morning, coated the remaining sheet of ice in salt, and then reshoveld a few hours later. The slush was easier to shovel, no doubt, but some of us didn’t get to the thawing part naturally.

  • Harvard St near the back of the zoo. The side opposite all the apartment buildings is terrible. The townhouse/condo owners never clear the snow and that is a long slippery hill.

  • Webster St. NW between 14th and 16th represent! Everyone shoveled. One of the men who lives in the group home on the corner went half way up the block with their snow blower. Love my neighbors. One teeny request. Please do a little work on the parking spot in front of your house.

  • The worst offender is DC/WMATA never cleared most of the bus stops or sidewalks which are city property. I mean the real city property and not those in from of retail, which is the retailers responsibility. Good example is U Street bus stops. Shameful the city will point fingers each year and they are the worst.

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