Sidewalk Shoveling

Please do your part (as required by law) to clear your sidewalk within 8 hours after a snow/ice storm ends. And please help your elderly or disabled neighbors by removing snow from their steps and sidewalks. To formally volunteer to be part of the DC Volunteer Snow Teamregister online or call Serve DC at (202) 727-7925.

If you’re unable to shovel snow yourself (but don’t qualify for an exception, see below), there are many in the neighborhood for hire to do this. You’re expected to comply with DC law even if you’re out of town when a storm hits.  So plan ahead!

“Uncleared sidewalks pose a real danger and can be life threatening to pedestrians. When the sidewalks are not clear of snow or ice, pedestrians may injure themselves on the slick sidewalk or be forced to walk in the roadway with vehicular traffic.”  (DDOT website)


DC Code § 9–601. Removal from sidewalks by owner of abutting property.

(a) The owner of a residential or commercial property that fronts or abuts a paved sidewalk shall, within the first 8 hours of daylight after the ceasing to fall of any snow or sleet, remove and clear away, or cause to be removed and cleared away, snow or sleet that is in front of or abuts a building or lot of land to provide a path that is the entire width of the sidewalk, up to 36 inches wide; provided, that a residential or commercial property owner may delegate this responsibility to a tenant, occupant, lessee, or other individual by written agreement.

(b) If snow or sleet cannot be removed without causing injury to the paved sidewalk, then the owner of the residential or commercial property shall, within the first 8 hours of daylight after the ceasing to fall of any snow or sleet, make the sidewalk reasonably safe for travel by covering the unremoved snow or sleet with a coating of sand, sawdust, or other proper substance as necessary to render the sidewalk safe for pedestrian travel.

Penalty for Non-Compliance

If a residential property owner fails to comply, the property owner is subject to being fined $25 for each day of noncompliance. (DC Code § 9-606).


DC Code § 9–606(d) (1):  A residential property owner who is 65 years of age or older or who has a disability shall not be found in violation of this chapter, and shall qualify for an exemption.


Residents must apply annually for the exemption from sidewalk shoveling enforcement.

Government of the District of Columbia
Department of Public Works
2000 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009