Under DC law, homeowners and businesses must shovel their sidewalks within the first eight daylight hours after a snowfall, or else they face citations and fines. But who pays when the District Department of Transportation doesn’t clear its own sidewalks?
Among the sidewalks that fall under DDOT’s purview are those on the small triangles of land along major arterials such as Connecticut Avenue. Last Saturday, January 30th, exactly one week after the snow fell, I found important segments of Connecticut Avenue sidewalk remained unshoveled, pushing pedestrians into the busy roadway.
Another important walking route for kids going to Deal and Wilson schools is along Fessenden. The street was plowed by Friday but the sidewalk segment on DDOT property at Fessenden and Reno Road remained untouched.
Mayor Bowser has enlisted citizen volunteers to help seniors and homeowners with disabilities shovel their walks. Perhaps DDOT should be using this list, as well.
DDOT isn’t responsible for all of the triangles, however. Muhlenberg Park, bounded by Connecticut Avenue, 36th and Ellicott Streets, is on National Park Service land. Usually the Connecticut Avenue sidewalk abutting the park is a problem, but a regular bus rider told me it was clear by the Tuesday after the storm.
ANC Commissioner Malachy Nugent mentioned that last year that he’d repeatedly asked Mike Matthews, the Mayor’s Ward 3 community liaison, about clearing the walk until Matthews went out and shoveled it himself. We don’t know whether Matthews did the work this time, but if he did, he gets big thanks from the Forest Hills Connection, and for last year as well.
Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh announced in her January 30th newsletter a roundtable to review the District’s cleanup efforts and determine what’s needed to improve the response to snow emergencies. The roundtable will be held on Thursday, February 18th at 11:00 a.m. Anyone who wishes to testify or submit written testimony should contact Aukima Benjamin at (202) 724-8062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.