Some icing of streets and sidewalks is to be expected in the freeze-thaw cycle after a snowstorm. But that’s not the only reason for icy conditions.
Rain-swollen underground springs are releasing water onto our streets and sidewalks. And when the temperatures dip below freezing, those surfaces are icing up, making travel through our neighborhood hazardous for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists.
When you spot an icy patch on a street, you can request ice removal by calling 311 or visiting 311.dc.gov. (The day I tried, the online service was not working but you could provide information through a live chat.) Provide this information:
Property owners are responsible for ice removal on sidewalks. For increased traction, use sand, non-clumping kitty litter or even ash from a fireplace, if you have one. Rock salt (sodium chloride) can be used for melting ice, but the ice spots are so thick in some places it will require a lot, which is not good for pets, plants or our streams. There are safer de-icers, but more expensive – magnesium chloride and calcium magnesium.