Like the rest of the District, my roommates, neighbors, and I spent Sunday shoveling ourselves out of our houses and, as is the law, clearing the sidewalks in front of them. I live on a particularly busy stretch of North Capitol Street near Children’s Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital Center, so if the sidewalks aren’t clear, pedestrians are forced to share the road with what’s often heavy traffic.
So you can imagine our dismay this morning when we awoke to find our recently cleared sidewalks engulfed in mountains of snow—the result of snowplows and bulldozers working overnight to clear the parking lanes of North Capitol Street. Not only were our sidewalk-clearing efforts undone, but now many of us can’t even get out from the front of our houses.
It’s annoying, sure, but that’s just a minor inconvenience compared to the major safety hazard the overnight plowing has created: With North Capitol Street as clear as it was before the blizzard, traffic is once again high, and pedestrians are forced to walk on the side of the road, often sharing the same lane with motorists barreling down it.
With such a crippling amount of snowfall, the priority is to clear the main streets—especially one that’s a direct route to a hospital. And therein lies the dilemma: When the city rushed to solve this problem, it created a far more dangerous one.
Do you have pictures showing where the city plowed snow onto sidewalks, making them impassable? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sidewalk on Hopscotch Bridge not shoveled at all going west. Woman was walking in street against traffic.— Sarah Anne Hughes (@sarahanne_news) January 26, 2016
Remember: PEDESTRIANS SHOULD NOT WALK IN THE ROAD. pic.twitter.com/v3e7p84oBZ— Ben Harris (@BenHarris_1) January 26, 2016
Top photo by Matt Cohen; bottom photo by Rebecca Mills