The Snow Shoveling Story Remains the Same

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
February 10, 2016

It’s been a constant battle over the years to get City businesses to clear their sidewalks of snow as required by City ordinance. And problems on that front cropped up again following last month’s historic blizzard.

Many businesses, even some small, understaffed businesses, did good work getting through the prodigious amounts of white stuff that fell, thereby helping City residents and visitors return to their normal life routines, but others did little or nothing, despite having repeatedly been told over the years what their responsibilities are.

And even more odd, some of the worst offenders were the deep pocketed national chains, which surely can afford to hire contractors to handle the task.

Rite Aid, for example, didn’t even touch its West or Ellison street sidewalks. West was covered with a huge amount of snow that had been plowed on to it, but that just makes the task more urgent, since it truly was impassable. In previous years, Rite Aid’s store managers have been informed about the requirements.

West End Shopping Center was slow to even touch its Broad Street sidewalk, and was even slower to address the Ellison Street sidewalk at their property’s rear. Six days after the snow ended, they did half of it. They only completed it after City officials reminded them of the need following the reopening of the City’s schools. The same is true for Rite Aid: they didn’t act on their West Street or Ellison sidewalks until the City nudged them.

It’s not known if the City issued a ticket or just gave them a gentle reminder.

The vacant cabinet store at the corner of Broad & West addressed neither Broad nor West, and while that’s understandable to a degree, since no one is there, it doesn’t remove their legal responsibilities nor the ethics of the situation. They too, got it handled after the City came calling.

But perhaps the worst offender is national chain Taco Bell, which is owned by the huge Yum! Brands company. More than two weeks after the snow stopped falling, they had yet to finish clearing their West Street sidewalk on Feb. 10. And it’s not just a couple of inches that remain. The sidewalk remains impassable and pedestrians continue to walk in busy West Street as a result.

The store manager at Taco Bell said he didn’t know why the sidewalk hadn’t been cleared. He said he would call their contractor back.

February 10, 2016 


2 Responses to “The Snow Shoveling Story Remains the Same”

  1. raindrops on February 11th, 2016 8:43 am

    The city should take responsibility for clearing the sidewalks along snow routes after major storms. Why leave this to residents and businesses? Why should pedestrians be expected to put up with this?

  2. Anne Hajduk on July 27th, 2016 9:34 am

    City should do the work and bill the company’s the highest possible rate, equivalent to overtime. When it costs them more not to do the work themselves than it does to do it, magically, it will be done.

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