The possibility to improve how snow is removed to support a community that wants to walk instead of driving is in reach with a little imagination. The need to cut slack for walkers and for bikers is apparent from images following the recent snow storm and ongoing winter weather.
Several things need to happen to improve making walking and biking more safe following inclement weather.
- Increase cooperation from citizens who park on the street.
- Shovel and re-shovel.
- Clear the bike lanes.
- Make passageways through snow drifts at crosswalks.
- Enforce laws requiring snow removal at all commercial buildings.
“Snow Removal Ordinance
‘February 21 storm
A weather event has deposited snow or ice accumulations measured at less than 6”. Arlington’s Snow Removal Ordinance requires residents and business to clear their adjacent public sidewalk of snow and ice by 7:00 pm, Sunday, February 22, 2015.’
The County’s snow removal ordinance requires all Arlington property owners to clear snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property within a designated time period. The ordinance also prohibits transferring or depositing snow and ice from private property onto public property. Individual homeowners who are physically incapable of complying with the Ordinance are exempt (read about exemptions, below).
Focus on Safety, Accessibility
Providing clear, safe roadways and pedestrian routes ensures access to jobs, schools and services in our walkable community. The snow removal ordinance helps ensure safe access for pedestrians and to make all transportation modes available as soon as possible after a snow storm.
Ordinance Specifics for Residents and Business Owners
Snow and ice removal – All property owners are required to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their property:
- Must be removed from the entire width of the sidewalk up to 3 feet wide (to accommodate wheelchairs, strollers, and adults with children in hand).
- Must be removed within 24 hours after the snow stops falling when accumulations are less than 6 inches, and within 36 hours when 6 or more inches of snow accumulate (as measured at National Airport, per National Weather Service). If another snow event occurs, the clock will reset to the end of the most recent snowfall. We will post the official snow ending time on this webpage.
- Noncompliance could result in a civil penalty of $50 for sidewalks less than 200 linear feet in length, or $100 for sidewalks longer than 200 feet.
- The County may remove the snow or ice on sidewalks around private property when the owner fails to comply within the designated time period, and charge the cost to the owner.
- Depositing snow and ice on streets or sidewalks: Private owners may not deposit snow or ice from private property onto public property, including streets & sidewalks. Such action may result in a class 4 (criminal) misdemeanor and fine of $250.
- The County is responsible for clearing sidewalks bordering County government-owned property. Read about the County’s snowfighting efforts.
- Even though some individuals are exempt from the Ordinance, it is our hope that everyone will do the best they can to clear sidewalks, keeping our community safe and walkable.
- Homeowners who may need extra help can contact their civic association; the County is working with them to support neighborhood volunteer clearing efforts.
- Commercial property owners are expected to comply with the Ordinance.
- Snow clearing should be part of basic business operating plans.
- Individual homeowners who are physically incapable of complying with the ordinance are exempt.
- The County will not be pre-qualifying or maintaining lists of exempt individuals.
- Prior to issuing citations, County staff will make every effort to contact owners to determine if they are exempt.
- If the unlikely event that you receive a citation (and you are exempt), merely provide information about your exemption.
- If snow/ice is redeposited on your cleared sidewalk as a result of government action (e.g., snowplowing), you will be exempt from the ordinance.
- However, it’s our hope that everyone will do what they can to re-clear sidewalks to ensure our community is safe and walkable.”