Hey Safeway: Shovel your #$!*&% Sidewalks!

safeway You might think a company the size of Safeway would have the resources to keep the sidewalks around their stores clear of snow and ice, but how wrong you’d be (at least at the one near my house). Why bother when everyone drives around in those giant gas-guzzling SUVs with no passengers belching out CO2s like there’s no tomorrow? Safeway my ass.

And it’s not only Safeway. I’d say roughly 1 in 3 businesses shovel their sidewalks after a snow storm in my neighborhood. Home owners are even worse. To get to the store and back this evening I was forced to walk on the street, which is real safe when cars are whizzing by and with conditions such as they are.

Aren’t there laws that mandate property owners keep sidewalks clear for pedestrians? If there aren’t, there should be. If there are, then who the hell is (not) enforcing them?

If you’re too damn lazy to do it yourself then hire some kid from the neighborhood to do it for you! They’re are always interested in a little extra weed video game money.

9 Comments so far

  1. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

    Good points, Doug. As infrequently as this type of weather comes, you would think people might be willing to do their part to keep the area safe. Especially stores. If I slip and bust ass in front of my neighbor’s house I can only get so much money in the event of a lawsuit. With a commercial enterprise? That’s a huge risk to take, with extra insurance payments, investigations, lawyers, etc.

    Plus, it’s just plain friendly to customers. I don’t get this either.

  2. Doug (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 10:33 pm

    I didn’t even consider the liability aspect, another good point and you’d think they’d do it on these grounds alone. I was just thinking in terms of common sense, responsibility, and like you said, showing some respect for your customers.

  3. Scott (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

    Amen. Same thing in my neighborhood.

  4. monavano (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 9:32 am

    I can’t believe how many neighbors (who were home all day!) didn’t clear thier sidewalks. Thanks a lot jerks. If I want to walk my dogs, I’ll have to walk them in the street. Or take my chances on the ice in front of your house.
    I thought this was fine-able as well.

  5. monavano (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 9:36 am

    Added: Fairfax, where I live, only asks politely that you clear you walk. That’s really helpful. Ugh.
    Most other counties give you 24-48 hours to clear.

  6. Don (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 10:21 am

    Monavano, ask your local commissioners to pass some legislation if you think there should be standards. VA code allows for up to a $100 fine for failure to clear snow and ice.


    Notwithstanding the provisions of ยง 15.2-2000 A, any county in Northern Virginia Planning District 8 may provide by ordinance reasonable criteria and requirements for the removal of accumulations of snow and ice from public sidewalks, by the owner or other person in charge of any occupied property.

    Such ordinance shall include reasonable time frames for compliance and reasonable exceptions for handicapped and elderly persons, and those otherwise physically incapable of meeting the criteria and requirements for such removal.

    Civil penalties not to exceed $100 may be imposed for violation of such ordinance.

  7. Doug (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

    “The Montgomery County Code requires commercial establishments and multi-family dwelling units (apartment buildings) to clear snow from entrances to parking areas on their property and to adjacent bus stops. The law also requires property owners to clear walkways at or adjacent to residential properties, including any walkway in the public right-of-way — for example, a public sidewalk in front of a private residence — within 24 hours after the end of the precipitation that caused the condition. The law does not apply to unpaved walkways, private walkways, or to occupants of multi-family residential properties and most homeowners’ associations. If a snowplow redeposits snow or ice, the law allows a second 24-hour period for removal. If the ice or hard packed snow is “impossible or unreasonably difficult to remove,” the owner or occupant must apply sufficient sand, salt, or other abrasives to provide safe pedestrian use.”

    I couldn’t find any information on fines for failure to do so.

  8. John Z Wetmore (unregistered) on February 25th, 2007 @ 11:26 am

    The Safeway near me also does nothing to clear their sidewalks. If enough people complain to the store manager and to corporate headquarters, maybe something will happen.

    In Montgomery County, the sidewalk shoveling law is enforced strictly on a complaint basis. First time offenders get a warning letter. If there are sidewalks you use that still aren’t shoveled, you can file a complaint with the county at the following website:

  9. Doug (unregistered) on February 25th, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

    Thanks for the info John, and for the link to the complaint page and especially to your Web site, Perils for Pedestrians.

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