Be a Snow Team Hero


This December post has been updated with additional information from DDOT and DPW.

Your Responsibilities. District law requires property owners to clear snow and ice from sidewalks and steps abutting their property within the first eight daylight hours after snow, sleet, or ice stop falling so pedestrians can walk safely. According to DDOT:

  • If the sidewalks are not cleared with 24 hours after the end of the storm, residential property owners may receive a $25 fine and commercial property owners may receive a $150 fine.
  • Elderly (65 or older) and people with disabilities living in their own homes are exempt from this requirement.
  • Clear snow/ice from the curb ramps to access the sidewalk and curb cuts that abut the property.
  • Place snow/ice in the treebox or the grassy area next to the sidewalk. If there is no treebox or grassy area, please place snow/ice next to the curb away from the street or bicycle lane.
  • For more information, visit

DPW’s Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Program (SWEEP) officers are charged with enforcing the sidewalk shoveling regulation beginning 24 hours after a storm ends. We encourage neighbors to help seniors and other neighbors who might need assistance shoveling. Off-campus GU students should reach out to GU's Office of Neighborhood Life for information on their snow plan and Winter House "lending library" of snow shovels and maintenance supplies. Details are provided on pages 22–24 of the 2016 Hoya Living Guide.

Sign Up for Shoveling Exemption. Residents who qualify for the exemption from enforcement for not shoveling snow/ice after a storm are homeowners, 65 years or older and/or living with a disability. DPW is advising residents to apply as soon as possible for the exemption from enforcement of the sidewalk shoveling regulation if they meet the bolded qualifications in the previous sentence. Residents must apply annually for the exemption from sidewalk shoveling enforcement. DPW is responsible for enforcing the requirement for residential and commercial property owners to shovel their sidewalks after a storm ends.

To apply for the FY 2017 exemption, which is valid October 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017, residents may: 

  • Apply online at DPW’s Website:
  • Apply by calling the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311. Applicants should receive a confirmation number at the end of the call.
  • Apply by mailing the completed Sidewalk Shoveling Exemption application, obtained at to: Government of the District of Columbia Department of Public Works, 2000 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009.

Take Part in a DC-wide Program. Please join DC Serve volunteers this winter to help seniors and residents with access and functional needs in your community stay safe. Last year, DC Serve volunteers cleared sidewalks and front walkways for over 4,000 seniors, enabling them to remain safe, be able to reach the street, and continue with their daily activities. Register at DC Serve or call (202) 727-7925.

The office has made some improvements to this year's Volunteer Snow Team program to make it even more simple to help out in your community this winter. They will be introducing an app that will alert you when to shovel, as well as tell them when you've finished your shoveling assignment. They'll also be including a pre-matching system so that you know which neighbor you'll be helping prior to inclement winter weather.