D.C. residents and businesses that don’t help clear nearby sidewalks this winter will face tougher consequences.
“We’re going to give warnings first because it is finally operative this year,” Councilwoman Mary Cheh said at a Monday hearing, referring to the Winter Sidewalk Safety Amendment Act. “But thereafter, people will be getting citations.”
It amounts to $25 fines for residents, and $150 for businesses who don’t clear the way 24 hours after a snowstorm.
Chris Shorter, who leads D.C.’s snow team, said sidewalk inspectors will be sent out to respective zones after a storm to communicate with residents who don’t shovel their sidewalks.
“What I don’t want is to create a situation where they fear receiving citations from the city,” Shorter said.The interim director of the city’s Public Works department told the council the agency will work with disabled and senior residents.
The Department of Public Works will share a database of residents who need assistance with Serve D.C., which will assign them a volunteer to shovel snow from their sidewalks.
Cheh addressed concerns from residents who don’t see the government holding up its end of the deal. There were reports to the council of snow piling up on sidewalks in front of government buildings and schools.
“As we move forward, the same vendors who are responsible for clearing the sidewalks on the major corridors will be coming in and clearing around government buildings as well, including schools,” Shorter said, clarifying those vendors are employed through the city’s Department of General Services.
The agencies work together when it comes to planning for and removing snow from the District.
“I’m expecting a pretty major change here,” Shorter said. “There’s no longer going to be a differentiation between recreation, school and general sidewalk.”