Arlington's Snow Clearing Policy
First the ACCF Transportation Committee
At the December 5, 2000 meeting the ACCF will consider Arlington's snow clearance policy.
Explanation of the Issue
Unlike some neighboring jurisdictions, Arlington does not have a snow
ordinance. Neither businesses nor residents are required to clear snow from
sidewalks adjacent to their property. Should Arlington property owners be
required to provide this public benefit to their neighbors? Is sidewalk
snow clearance a more appropriate activity for volunteer community
organizations? Is the county's own snow clearance adequate? Do the
benefits of enhanced snow clearance or removal justify the cost?
Snow ordinances are currently in place in the Cities of Falls Church and
Alexandria as well as communities throughout the country. The Pedestrian
Advisory Commmittee supports a snow ordinance as a matter of public safety,
especially for schoolchildren and other pedestrians. Before requiring
private property owners to clear snow, however, the Pedestrian Advisory
Committee suggests the county improve its own snow removal methods.
County Manager William Donahue's October report "Snow Clearing from Public
Walkways" opposes a snow ordinance for numerous reasons. The report
expresses concerns such as selective enforcement, refreezing on cleared
trails, and cost. It suggests that volunteers from citizen groups such as
civic associations or schools pitch in instead.
Dick Bridges from Arlington County's Office of Public Affairs and Judy
Collins of the Pedestrian Advisory Committee will be available to provide
background and answer questions as we discuss this topic."
And here was the outcome, adopted by the Federation on
December 5th, 2000.
ACCF Resolution on Arlington's Snow and Ice Policy
Arlington County Civic Federation
-The Civic Voice of Arlington-
Resolution of the Arlington County Civic Federation Regarding Arlington
County's Snow and Ice Policy
Whereas unsafe walking conditions, sometimes lasting weeks, exist in the
county following periods of snowfall forcing persons to walk in the street,
drive, or remain snowbound,
December 5, 2000
Whereas the county encourages citizens to walk or use transit when weather
conditions make driving dangerous or difficult,
Whereas current road clearing methods often push snow onto sidewalks, bus
stops, and crosswalks,
Whereas many county trails which are used for transportation (e.g., walking
to school or Metro), not just recreation, and walkways over bridges, which
serve as crucial pedestrian connectors, are left uncleared,
Whereas Arlington, unlike other local jurisdictions such as the Cities of
Falls Church and Alexandria, does not require property owners to clear snow
and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property,
Therefore, the Civic Federation resolves that,
Arlington should enable citizens to walk or use transit when weather
conditions make driving dangerous or difficult by:
Enacting a snow ordinance requiring all property owners (business and
residential) to clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property
within a reasonable period of time following snowfall, with an exemption, as
permitted by the state, for those persons physically and financially unable
to clear snow and ice; and
Setting an example by effectively clearing snow and ice from the walkways of
county facilities including police and fire stations, county offices, and
Clearing snow from high-priority trails, walkways, and bridges used by
pedestrians, bicyclists and others for transportation; and
Improving roadway snow clearance by using methods which will not block
sidewalks, crosswalks, and bus stops and considering long term solutions
such as designing sidewalks with planting strips wide enough to store snow
cleared from roads.
This page was last revised on: December 27, 2003.