Clearing D.C. Sidewalk Snow May Not Fall on City

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    If your commute to work has been particularly rough because of slippery sidewalks or piles of snow on the curb, don't blame the D.C. government -- look to whoever owns that piece of land you're walking on.

    D.C. law requires all property owners -- commercial, residential, federal or municipal -- to clear any snow and ice on their sidewalks within the eight daylight hours following the end of snow fall, according to the D.C. Official Code.

    Residential property owners are responsible for the area between their property lines and the curb, and commercial property owners must clear up to 18 inches into the street. The D.C. Department of Public Works also asks owners to clear snow from catch basins and storm drains to prevent flooding during snow melt.

    For practical purposes, the DPW allows a 24-hour window, Public Information Officer Linda Grant said.

    D.C. Code says the District has a responsibility to clear the sidewalks of negligent property owners, but Grant said the DPW does not enforce this. The department also does not enforce the $25 fee the code says negligent owners could be fined.

    "We do not have the resources to do so and we feel that it's already the property owner's responsibility," Grant said.

    The DPW does salt the pedestrian walkways on D.C. bridges.

    If the DPW receives many complaints about a residence, the agency will talk to the property owners to persuade them to salt their sidewalks.

    Call 311 or 202-737-4404 to contact the D.C. Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works if you have a complaint about icy sidewalks.