Shovel Your Sidewalks!

Untouched by Shovel

Now beginneth GM’s annual plea to neighborly decency: Shovel Your Sidewalks!

And this year, GM has a bit more of the force of law behind him. Starting this winter, DC will start fining residents who don’t shovel the sidewalk in front of their house within 24 hours of the end of the storm. The fine will be $25 for residents and $150 for businesses. It’s long been the case that the law mandated the shoveling, but the process of actually obtaining a fine against the scofflaw was so cumbersome that it was literally never used.

But you shouldn’t shovel your sidewalk because of the fine. You should shovel the sidewalk because you’re a decent human being, or at least aspire to be one. Not shoveling can impact the mobility of your neighbors or other people trying to pass by. Elderly residents and families with strollers are particularly affected by such selfishness.

But the thing is, not everyone has the physical strength to move the snow (particularly the amount they’re now forecasting). The city will not fine elderly people for failing to clear their sidewalk. That’s where you healthy people come in. If you’re under 40 and don’t have a chronic injury that limits you, don’t stop at your own sidewalk. Clear your neighbors too. And your neighbors’ neighbors while you’re at it. GM typically tries to do his whole block if someone doesn’t beat him to it.

You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, but if you’ve got elderly residents or vacant houses on your block, just try to organize with your neighbors to make sure the path gets cleared. It’s the right thing to do.

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