D.C. Still Has No Idea How to Clear Sidewalks

I realize it’s August, so most people aren’t thinking about shoveling snow, but D.C. has recently passed a snow removal bill (boldface mine):

For the first time since 1922, D.C. is moving to put teeth into its law requiring that residents and businesses clear their sidewalks after snowstorms. On Friday, the D.C. Department of Public Works published proposed regulations laying out a schedule of fines for residents and businesses who fail to shovel away snow and ice after a storm.

Under the proposed rules — which are open to public comment for 30 days — residents could be fined $25 and businesses $150 for not clearing up to 36 inches of sidewalk in front of their property within 24 hours of the end of a storm. The rules offer exemptions for any resident who is either over the age of 65 or can prove that they suffer from a disability.

The rules follow a bill approved by the D.C. Council last November that updates the city’s 93-year-old shoveling law. Some residents and legislators had long complained that the law was too difficult to enforce; under its provisions, an untouched sidewalk had to be cleared by the city, and the home or business owner had to be sued to cover that cost. No lawsuits were ever filed for failure to clear away snow or ice.

I’ve noted how weak this proposal is before, but the dumbest part is the 24-window. What that means if the snow stops, let’s say Wednesday afternoon, you don’t have to clear sidewalks for anyone trying to get to work on Thursday morning. Essentially, this is useless. Just take Boston’s legislation and copy it.

Aside: Supposedly, there are published proposed regulations, but I can’t seem to find them online. Shocking.

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