As DC prepares for some snow tonight, DDOT and DPW are taking clear steps to remind property owners that they are legally required to shovel sidewalks.
From the press release:
There may also be enough snow to shovel and residents and businesses are reminded they should be prepared to clear the walkways adjacent to their properties, as required by District law. To encourage compliance, DDOT and DPW are launching a public awareness campaign called “Is your sidewalk shoveled?” The campaign’s simple message is driven home on a poster by the image of a mother pushing a baby stroller in the street adjacent to a snow covered sidewalk.
"It is our responsibility to make sure the roadways are treated, plowed and passable,” said DDOT’s Interim Director Terry Bellamy, “But many people moving around the city are on foot, and we need every property owner to pitch in to ensure the sidewalks are as safe and clear as the streets.”
The two agencies will promote the campaign on their web and social media sites and make the information and materials available to local residents, businesses, BIDs, bloggers and media outlets to help spread the message. DDOT also plans to post the campaign poster on bus shelters in the city later this winter.
This is an important step. At last night’s meeting of the Pedestrian Advisory Council, DDOT’s George Branyan noted that during last year’s storms, many business owners expressed surprise when he told them the law requires shoveling sidewalks.
Awareness is one of several steps necessary to ensure people can navigate sidewalks on foot. DC also needs fines for violators, and resources to help people unable to shovel, like businesses willing to do it for a fee and volunteer help for poorer and elderly residents or nonprofits. DDOT has started encouraging people to form neighborhood shoveling teams like we did last year; organizing these more formally would be a great step for ANCs to take.