Image by brownpau licensed under Creative Commons.

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 stopped being the case last year, and owners of homes and buildings that don’t shovel can now get fines.

Sidewalks have to be clear by 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 over 65 or with disabilities can get an exemption.

There was snow and ice on the ground when we woke up on Tuesday, meaning sidewalks should be clear by this afternoon. It's important to shovel today because it's supposed to freeze tonight and tomorrow, and we might also get more precipitation.

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 Tuesday after 4 pm or on Wednesday 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.