For years, it was the law in DC that property owners had to shovel sidewalks after a snow, but there was no practical way to enforce the law. That’s now changed, and owners of homes and buildings that don’t shovel can get fines this year.

An un-shoveled sidewalk near Park Service land in 2010. Photo by James.

Sidewalks have to be clear by eight hours eight daylight hours after a snow ends. Residential can face a $25 fine, and it’s $150 for commercial properties (which under DC law include any residential building with four units or more, as well as stores and offices and such). People ove 65 or with disabilities can get an exemption.

Wednesday night it snowed in DC until about 10 pm, which means by now, sidewalks should be clear by this afternoon. It’s particularly important to clear the one inch we got last night, because there’s a lot more snow coming, and it’ll be much harder to clean sidewalks if the snow lands on top of a sheet of ice from the last snow.

We also regularly post a “sidewalk show shoveling hall of shame” to highlight local governments, federal agencies, large apartment buildings, commercial parking lots, and others like who don’t shovel. If you encounter un-shoveled sidewalks Thursday evening or Friday morning, take a picture and send it to

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.