Sidewalks of Shame Vol. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9…

by Prince Of Petworth January 27, 2016 at 2:55 pm 60 Comments

I told you I had a big queue…

“2nd St NW, adjacent to Carver Hall, hasn’t been touched”

“Wendy’s on NY Ave.”

Unfortunately a sh*t ton more after the jump.

“For your series Sidewalks of shame, brought you by Sorg Architects.
This is the abandoned church on 10th and V 3 days after the storm.”

“While walking down 7th St NW on Monday afternoon, I noticed that the entire west side of the block along 7th between S and T St NW was unshoveled. I also noticed that Howard University owns the property along this side of the block and had the time to clear snow out of their parking lot. I have a hard time understanding how a university is unable to abide by the law while countless private citizens and small businesses have. DC law clearly states: “Residential and commercial property owners are asked to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of a storm’s end so pedestrians can walk safely.” What makes this even worse is that it is along a heavily traveled corridor across the street from the Shaw metro station entrance. Is DC even enforcing their own snow shoveling laws? Large organizations, such as Howard University, should especially be held accountable for violating the law.”

“The sidewalks in front of the Old Hebrew Home on 1125 Spring Rd, NW still hasn’t been shoveled. This sidewalk is a major route for the children attending Raymond Elementary. The residential side of Spring Rd has been shoveled (although the path is narrow). I submitted a report to 311, however I’m concerned it will not be addressed before school starts tomorrow. I tried calling 311 and was on hold for 30 minutes. Any ideas on what to do next?

The picture is in front of 1125 Spring Rd facing 11th.”

“Perennial offender – Park Pleasant in Mt Pleasant”

“In my 6 years in the neighborhood, this Exxon station in Brookland has never once shoveled its sidewalks. I’m not sure why I was surprised about it this time. It’s the corner of 12th and Franklin.”

“I’d like to nominate Urban League of DC, corner of 14th and Harvard NW. Hugely busy intersection with a CaBi station that is also home to a bus stop and a block from Columbia Heights Metro. For shame!”

“The developer of these “exquisite residences” coming to Rhode Island Ave. NW is failing at neighborly duties”

“Walked (or rather, glided) past the Spanish embassy’s cultural office on 16th Street. It was scary.”


“Valero (shameful) vs. Hess (great job!) just now, at east and west sides of New Jersey and Rhode Island NW. Shout out to good and bad.”


  • Beau

    until the rain hit, the sidewalks by the Exxon in Cleveland Park were impassible. They also rarely, if ever, shovel.

    • vannessie

      I just walked by there today, and there was some clearing, but still a slushy stretch that I had to help (1) a woman with a stroller, and (2) and elderly woman with a shopping cart through. It would have taken 5 minutes to clear it. instead, there was a guy shoveling out a final pile of slush by the service bay doors. Assholes.

    • nyc_to_ma

      That Exxon is THE WORST. I’ve been really close to going inside and yelling at the employees SO many times. There are a ton of elderly people in that neighborhood, and someone is going to get seriously hurt there one day.

  • eva

    When these places (like the ones with developer signs out front) have phone numbers I will stand there in front of the building and phone them. Last year I spoke to at least a half dozen realtors who all promised to ensure someone was sent out (and I confirmed within 24 hours that it was done because these were places I walked past daily).

  • Anon

    Nominating Scott circle as well. Absolutely horrible there.

    • Truxton Thomas

      I second this nomination.

  • Anon

    Does that Wendy’s sidewalk belong to Wendy’s? We have a somewhat similar setup where I work and it belongs to the city (though we usually plow it because the city never does). I’d also like to nominate pretty much every single bus stop in DC. I’m able bodied and in my 20s and it was rough for me. I can’t imagine how our neighbors with canes and wheelchairs are navigating.

    • AG

      I thought building owners, residential or commercial, were responsible for sidewalks directly in front of them. The city technically owns the sidewalk in front of my Capitol Hill rowhouse, but I am responsible for shoveling it.

      • textdoc

        From the DPW website: “Clear snow and ice from sidewalks and steps next to your home and/or business. DC law requires residents to remove snow from sidewalks and steps within eight hours of daylight after the snow stops.”
        There are similar rules for litter: “Residential property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks and tree box spaces around their property. Commercial property owners are responsible for the public space around their property up to 18 inches from the curb into the street.”

      • Anon

        You’re probably right. I was just curious as the sidewalk is so far from the building, but I guess it is next to their parking lot. I don’t recall that Wendy’s having a sidewalk immediately surrounding it either, so that’s their only sidewalk. In my office building’s case the sidewalk is the responsibility of the City. They will salt it, they just never plow it because they know we will

        • textdoc

          How is that your office building’s sidewalk is the responsibility of the city — are you in a D.C. municipal government building?

          • Duponter

            I don’t know if he/she means “responsibility” so much as ownership. The city owns most of the sidewalks that surround office buildings. Or the fed government does and Parks is responsible. I don’t know of any office buildings that own their sidewalks just like nearly no homeowners in the city own the sidewalk, or for that matter, their front property between the sidewalk in the house for most old city residents.

  • Why

    With all the mayor talk about fining those who do not shovel, it’s just an empty threat. No no will ever get fined for this. Gas station at 15 and U only did their sidewalks yesterday. Three days late.

    • INDC

      This is sadly true. And what exactly are the fines for businesses vs. homeowners? I thought homeowners received a paltry 25 dollar ticket…can’t imagine the threat of this fine being much of a concern. That being said, seems like a majority of homeowners and businesses were prompt in shoveling. Although, it’s disturbing to STILL see unplowed streets in the city. I just walked on Chapin between 15th and 14th street – clearly a plow hasn’t touched that street yet…4 days after the storm. DC deserves it’s shitty reputation regarding snow.

      • Truxton Thomas

        I believe I heard on Friday’s Kojo that it’s $25 for residential and $150 for commercial.

    • Duponter

      I have heard that it was reported the city intended to ticket homeowners, but didn’t have the ticket system up and running in time.

      They apparently had the parking ticket system working as it was reported they issues over a million dollars in fines this past weekend. Shame Bowser can’t apply that million to plowing the streets or cleaning the sidewalks.

  • Anonymous Now

    I don’t have a photo but the Embassy of Montenegro on 18th and New Hampshire NW is terrible and it NEVER gets shoveled. It gets tons of foot traffic too, so it is basically a solid sheet of ice already. I submitted a 311 request but I’m assuming embassies are effectively immune to shoveling tickets?

    • Anonymous

      In Montenegro, snow shovels you.

  • Enfo

    DC doesn’t enforce the shoveling laws, so this happens. Year after year after year.

    • FWIW the officers have significantly more important duties after a storm than writing petty fine tickets.

      • Philippe Lecheval

        Like writing parking tickets.

  • Caroline

    The Wendy’s has to maintain its reputation for being the spot most hostile to all forms of transit.

    • textdoc

      Ha! :)

    • Philippe Lecheval

      They also do their part to make vehicular traffic pure hell at that intersection.

  • also anon

    I’ve reported houses and a non-profit in my neighborhood for not shoveling but does anything actually happen to people that we report using 311?

    • Nope

      I live in Columbia Heights and may have reported the same non-profit, which almost always leaves sheet-of-ice sidewalks every time it snows. I doubt anything will ever happen but I report them every year.

    • JohnH

      Muriel said yesterday I believe that they would enforce businesses only, but not residents. Not sure who is actually doing the enforcing…

      • Marty

        Even if they just had a team of freakin’ interns whose job it was to go out, knock on the doors of violators, and figure out who the owners are so that they can send them a letter nicely informing them of the law, it’d be helpful.

  • Jason

    What are legal liabilities for the owners/businesses? What happens when people wipe out?

    • Anon Spock

      I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t sue if the time has passed to shovel. Otherwise, maybe the fume if someone gets around to imposing it.

      • The OP Anon

        There need to be a couple of high profile lawsuits. That will shape up most businesses and homeowners pretty quickly. I’m surprised insurance companies are not on top of their clients, reminding them that they can be sued.

    • Anonymous

      Probably not much more than some attorney’s fees, if even, as you only need to paint a plaintiff as 1% negligent to avoid any liability.

      Contributory negligence is an awful rule.

    • Duponter

      I’m pretty sure contributory negligence (if available in DC, which I believe it is) and/or assumption of risk defenses would help reduce the monetary grab bag for a plaintiff. It’s hard to say it was someone’s fault you fell on a snow filled walk if you could actually see the snow and could have avoided it. In this case, I think contributory negligence works exactly as it should. It’s rude for homeowners to leave their walks unshoveled, but why should someone who knowingly still risks crossing it, injures themselves, get a payout? We should encourage people to avoid risk, not reward them for assuming it.

      • annonny

        So what happens when you try to “avoid” the scofflaw’s unshoveled sidewalk and either (a) fall down while trying to cross an icy street, (b) get hit by a car, or (c) are injured in some other way as a result of not being able to proceed in a straight line? “Avoiding” one risk necessarily creates others that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Seems like the a-holes refusing to carry out their shoveling responsibilities should be held accountable in some way, right?

  • vannessie

    Why the hell aren’t there hefty fines for commercial enterprises that engage in this flagrant disregard for public health??? Do our “leaders” (most of whom seem to drive everywhere) not give a sh*t!!!

  • *

    the gas station on P st and 23rd NW never shovels the sidewalk adj to their lot. It’s so frustrating. would it be much more time for them to do the sidewalk, considering that they are not shoveling by hand?

  • Anon

    That Valero gas station also perplexes me because its gas is much more expensive than the Hess its next to (currently $2.35 vs. $1.97, I believe)

  • Nathan

    After some twitter shaming, Howard University sent a crew out this morning to start at Carver Hall. They had just started when I was walking to work, no idea how well it was shoveled out yet.

  • Nelle

    I want to know whose responsibility it is to shovel the crosswalk down to the street from the sidewalk. Almost every single intersection I’ve approached, the sidewalk was cleared (or mostly cleared) but then there is no clear path to walk across the street. As someone who is in a walking boot with a broken foot, this is a HUGE issue for me. I can’t trudge through feet of snow….

  • Mase

    Would be curious to know whether the places of worship that are opposing any bike lanes anywhere near them cleared their sidewalks or not.

    • logandude

      For one, the Baptist church at the corner of 10th and N NW did a good job on their sidewalks.

  • The one that drove me (and my husband!) nuts were the tenants on the 1800 block of 13th who couldn’t be bothered to shovel — the only house on the entire block at this point — but had plenty of time to make a big snowman in their yard.

    • KPinDC

      OMG yes!! I walked by that on Monday night and was slack jawed and FURIOUS!!! Complete losers.

    • The OP Anon

      Knock over their stupid snowman along with a note. That should make the point.
      Group house is gonna group house.

  • Anonymous

    You can add the Wendy’s in Petworth too. The city really needs to crack down on this franchise. They’ve claimed to be willing to pay any fine no matter the cost. They’ve factored it into their DC business model and would rather pay the fine (vermin, sidewalks, trash) instead of pay to fix the problem. Someone has been assaulted TWICE at the Petworth Wendy’s.

    • Could we start some Twitter shaming for Wendy’s in general? I say we, but I don’t have a Twitter account, so I guess I mean you.

    • Could we start some Twitter shaming for Wendy’s in general? I say we, but I don’t have a Twitter account, so I guess I mean you. But would fully support any shaming available. I hate non-shovelers.

  • cyg

    I took photos of the Wendy’s on NY Ave this morning and tweeted it to DDOT, DPW and Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie and I’m pleased to say that this evening on my way home from the NOMA metro the sidewalks around the Wendy’s were almost cleared. For the 6 years I’ve done this walk to the metro and that Wendy’s never cleared their sidewalks, but they always plowed out their parking lot immediately! Especially galling since they are literally across the street from DDOT. I feel vindicated! So tweet to @DDOTDC, @DCDPW, your council member and the Mayor while you are at it @MayorBowser

    • Reality

      Good job! I’ve been in the neighborhood for 5 years and have also never seen them shovel!

  • Rich

    Until the DC government actually makes good on its empty threats to enforce the sidewalk clearing ordinance — I’ve lived here since 1978 and have never heard of a ticket actually being issued — no ones going to pay any attention to it.

  • bruno

    Cheap gas at the Brookland gas station ($1.79-ish). Do I read that correctly?

    • jim_ed

      The Citgo and Valero in Edgewood across from MGM Roast Beef were at $1.64 last week. Always the cheapest in town.

  • The OP Anon

    My guess is that the city does not have enough officers to write tickets to violating home owners and businesses during “snow emergencies.” However, I think they could hire temporary seasonal workers at $15/hour to patrol for this. It’s an easy net positive money maker.
    That said, I’m sure the politicians are loath to start a controversy where someone tickets a 90 year-old grandma for not shoveling her Petworth row house. The churches would be in an uproar.

  • MPinDC

    The power of PoP, or public shaming => Park Pleasant sidewalk was being shoveled out last night.

  • jim_ed

    On the flipside, the annual shoutout to the facilities crews at Truesdell Elementary are due. They have an enormous property footprint, and by Sunday all of their sidewalks were cleared, including curb cuts. Those dudes are the best.

  • anon

    Plenty of shame on 14th street between U and Columbia. Worse offenders – Boys and Girls Club, Urban Institute, low rises.

  • Reality

    haha, glad the Wendy’s was included! They NEVER shovel!


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