Today’s awful weather is a good reminder that the District will soon see a reappearance from its annual winter villains. LL’s talking, of course, about people who don’t shovel their sidewalks after it snows.
Until now, they’ve been able to let snow pile up with impunity. While District law requires businesses and individuals to clear snow after a storm, the 1922 law can only be enforced if the District sues the reluctant snow-clearer.
After previously failed attempts, though, Ward 3 councilmember Mary Cheh finally succeeded today in passing a bill that puts some teeth in the snow law. By a 10-3 vote, the Council voted for bill that allows for $25 tickets for individuals and $150 tickets for businesses that don’t clear their snow 24 hours after a storm. The fines can be issued by the Metropolitan Police Department, the Department of Transportation, or the Department of Public Works.
The bill includes exemptions for the disabled and the elderly. Still, Ward 7 councilmember Yvette Alexander worried that residents would miss their tickets and complain to her office.
“That’s when I get the phone calls,” Alexander said.
That didn’t stop Alexander from voting for it anyway. Opposing the bill were Ward 8’s Marion Barry, Ward 1 lame duck Jim Graham, and notably, Near Mayor Muriel Bowser. The harsher snow rules will go into effect in winter 2015, presuming that the mayor-elect doesn’t manage to gut it before then.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery