WAMU 88.5 : News

Once The Snow Stops Falling, It's On You To Start Clearing It Off The Sidewalks

Hey you, get to shoveling!
Hey you, get to shoveling!

The snow will soon stop falling, but that means that it's on someone to clean it up. And in most cases, that's everyone.

Almost every local jurisdiction in the metropolitan area requires that home- and business-owners clear their walks within a certain timeframe after the snow stops falling. In some places it's eight hours, in others it's 48.

Here's what you need to know for where you live:

  • In Arlington, residents and business-owners have 24 hours from the end of snowfall to clean snow and ice off of public sidewalks adjacent to their property; a three-foot area must be cleared. Failure to do so could result in a $50 fine. Also, snow cannot be moved from private to public property; doing so could end with a $250 fine.
  • Montgomery County also gives residents 24 hours, and also requires three feet of clearance.
  • But even within Montgomery County, different towns and villages have varying policies on snow removal. In Gaithersburg, for example, snow and ice have to be removed within 12 hours of snow stopping. Rockville allows between 24 and 72 hours, depending on how much snow is on the ground. (Less than three inches gives residents 24 hours, between three and nine inches is 48 hours).
  • Prince George's County goes longer, giving residents 48 hours to clear snow and ice. But county officials have in the past warned of the health risks associated with shoveling, including heart attacks.
  • In D.C., snow and ice have to be removed within eight daylight hours after snow stops falling. The city will clear snow and ice from in front of homes and businesses that fail to do so themselves, and sue to get the money back for doing so.
  • Fairfax County doesn't require residents to clear snow and ice, but they do ask that they do so.
  • Alexandria gives residents anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to clear sidewalks, depending on the severity of the storm. A failure to do so will result in a $50 fine; residents are asked to report non-compliance to 703-746-HELP.
  • Loudoun County (here in PDF) may be the strictest in the region: residents only get six hours after snow stops falling to clear sidewalks. That doesn't apply to incorporated towns with their own rules, though, and residents are exempted if removing snow or ice would damage their sidewalk. (If that happens, they have to put down sand or ash.) Violators can be fined $250 — per day.
WAMU 88.5

Kate Mulgrew: "Born With Teeth" (Rebroadcast)

Kate Mulgrew, who stars as "Red" in the Netflix TV series "Orange Is The New Black", opens up in a new memoir about her complicated family and the baby she gave away for adoption as a young woman.


Swapping The Street For The Orchard, City Dwellers Take Their Pick Of Fruit

Urban foragers don't just pick their meals from the trash; many eat only the finest, freshest produce — picked from city trees. The League of Urban Canners harvests fruit from trees to make jam.

Reconsidering The Pilgrims, Piety And America's Founding Principles

Conservatives who want to emphasize America's Christian roots embrace the story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact. But some historians say their role in the country's founding is overstated.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.