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Dear PoPville – Who is responsible for shoveling around schools?

by Prince Of Petworth February 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm 25 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

If I’m not mistaken, DC has a poorly enforced law on the books stating that residents, business owners, etc, must shovel the sidewalks within 8 hours after snow stops falling. So that should apply to DC schools, too, right? Cardozo High School does a terrible job with this. In previous storms this year, they have made an effort to salt the sidewalks, but I observed none leading up to this most recent storm. Cardozo takes up an entire city block, and as of this 9:15 this morning, this is what the sidewalks looked like on the very steep hill on 13th. No attempt to shovel had been made, and the many pedestrians through the area had pounded the snow down to thick, dangerous ice. The same was true after Snowmageddon a few years ago. The ice stayed for forever, long after temperatures rose.

I’m a renter in a large building across the street from Cardozo, so maintenance staff handle the snow around where I live, but after digging out my car yesterday, I did shovel out the crosswalks/handicap ramps at 13th and Clifton. Shoveling more around Cardozo was just beyond my abilities. Do you know who I can contact at the school to urge them to take care of this?”

  • Anonymous

    I guess it’s because people around here really aren’t used to dealing with more than a dusting of snow on a regular basis, but why are people so God damned lazy when it comes to shoveling snow? It’s not really that hard for your average, able-bodied person! I guess it’s different for those of us from up north, where everybody picks up a shovel and helps out their community without thinking twice about it.

    • WestEgg

      I walked all over Petworth & CH yesterday afternoon and the vast majority of sidewalks were cleared. I’m not sure who these GD lazy people are who you’re so upset with. But keep patting yourself on the back for your northern fortitude, Anonymous 2:59. We’re impressed.

      • jim_ed


      • Anonymous

        It’s hard to imagine how you could see what condition the sidewalks were in with your nose so far up in the air.

      • kd

        Yep in Glover Park all the neighbors were outside shoveling yesterday and having a great day off in the snow. This morning a stranger helped me dig out my car and two other strangers helped push when I was stuck (not to mention I watched two other people help another girl who was stuck). Great sense of community 🙂 I haven’t lived in that neighborhood long enough to know if that’s how it always is, but I sure hope so!

      • Anonymous

        I’ve been running into this a lot. Some people live in areas where the neighbors are clearing their sidewalks, and because these people haven’t seen the chronically uncleared sidewalks in other parts of the city, they assume that those houses don’t exist. Why is that?

    • Anonymous

      Finally, someone who understands! Does no on in DC have a sense of community? We’re all too busy to spend time shoveling the sidewalks in front of our houses and storefronts (which is our responsibility in the first place) so that everyone might have a safe walk to work? As of today, the area around my house is the only area without snow still covering the sidewalk…

      • Anonymous

        Don’t disagree with the tone of your message, but those spaces in front of our houses and storefronts are PUBLIC spaces, and should be cared for by the city with funds provided by our taxes.

        • Anonymous

          That’s not the law. You can lobby to change it, of course. But the idea is that you don’t pay taxes on that land, but get to enjoy it. And because of that, you have the responsibility to maintain it.

    • Anonymous

      Did you actually lift a shovel of snow yesterday? It was very heavy! As an average, able-bodied person from “the north”, I had admit it was some of the heaviest darn snow I’ve touched in years!

  • anon too

    As of 11am, it sidewalks also weren’t cleared around Meridian PCS at 13th and V. When the school is open, however, the snow removal is done very well.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve noticed the same for police stations and public librarys. During the last storm, none of the sideways outside the West End police station and library were shoveled, it was incredibly dangerous to walk there for a week.

  • Anonymous

    Try tweeting @DCDGS …. i’ve done this before and they’ve been incredibly friendly and quick.. sure, it’d be great if they’d just clear it, but absent that, a quick turnaround is just as good!

  • Anonymous

    Not that it’s an excuse for not shoveling, but DC schools were not in session today, so I’m guessing neither were the maintenance staff.

  • AMDCer

    That is really frustrating, but FWIW, the Adams Elementary sidewalk was completely clear (and almost dry!) this morning when I walked to work around 9:30.

    • The sidewalks at Barnard ES were also clear.

  • Anonymous

    In my experience, some of the worst offenders are places the city ought to be responsible for. Every time there is a substantial snowfall, the sidewalks inside the intersection of North Capitol and New York are incredibly dangerous. The snowplows push snow from the roadway onto the sidewalk, which then gets pounded down into that bumpy slick icepack, so to get through the intersection, you have to choose between navigating that mess or walking in lanes of traffic. But those sidewalks aren’t the responsibility of a homeowner or business, so they get neglected.

  • Thank you for shoveling the crosswalks and curb cuts.

  • nashpaul

    After the last storm, I contacted 311 to complain about no effort being made at the T Street Park (at 17th, T, and New Hampshire, NW). The response was that it wasn’t public property, even though it’s clearly signed as such and it’s the ONLY thing on the block.

  • Anonymous

    I walk from Columbia Heights to downtown everyday for work. A lot of the city was shoveled but most of it wasn’t salted. I could have ice skated to work this morning.

    And I walk by Cardozo, it’s not safe to walk by after it snows.

  • xminustdc

    I’m also wonder whose responsibility it is to maintain the sidewalks around many of the city parks. Namely Franklin Square Park and the smaller parks on Mass Ave NW between 10th and 12th. I’d assume they are maintained by the NPS? They are an awful, icy mess whenever there is snow/ice/sleet and they are never plowed.

    They’re rarely maintained during the summer. Last year, Franklin Square’s grass was knee-high, providing a nice breeding ground for rats. It was beautiful. I get it that it won’t be as well maintained as the National Mall, etc, but there are a lot of hotels in that direct area and it’s pretty shameful that such a large green space in the middle of the city is not maintained.

  • Anonymous

    I’m almost sure the city shovels and salts around the schools, just like they cut the grass. Not the school’s maintenance staff. Pretty certain of this.

  • Anon

    Sidewalk near intersection of Missouri and Georgia was complete ice during the last snow storm — super dangerous. I filed a ticket w/ 311, but they closed it, because they said it was the responsibility of the business. — However it seemed like no action was taken to fix the dangerous sidewalk.

  • not telling

    Top four spaces in DC that are guaranteed to not be shoveled:

    1. Bus stops
    2. City parks
    3. Schools
    4. Libraries

    The city won’t ticket themselves.

  • Ash

    That does look dangerous, and its extremely irresponisble to leave it like this. The city should be responsible for moving that snow and ice, just as private residents clear sidewalks around their properties in the interests of public safety. I mean, if you fall there, you would have a right to sue the city for damages and medical care costs, right?


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