News & Politics

DC to Declare Snow Emergency Tonight. Here’s Where Not to Park Your Car.

Also, don’t be a jerk about shoveling the sidewalk.

Don't be a jerk after it snows. Be like this person and shovel your walk. Photograph by Flickr user CathrynDC.

With a blizzard that could leave Washington buried under nearly a foot of snow approaching, the District will go into snow emergency mode at 6:30 PM tonight, Mayor Vince Gray said at a press conference today. But it’s been a while—four years, in fact—since DC had a snow emergency, so here’s a quick refresher.

Basically, do not park your car on any major thoroughfares unless you want to pay dearly. In a snow emergency, the cost of parking illegally on roads designated as rush hour zones goes from $100 up to $250, but that’s just for the ticket. Drivers whose cars are towed also get hit with a $100 towing fee, and a $25 impound fee that increases by $25 every day a vehicle is locked up.

Snow-emergency conditions also mean that taxis will charge an additional $15 fee.

The District government will deploy 287 snowplows on city streets at 9 PM tonight, said Bill Howland, the director of the Department of Public Works. Residents and property owners are also encouraged to salt the sidewalks outside their buildings before the snow arrives, and shovel the snow after the storm has passed. While this requirement is rarely, if ever, enforced, people who don’t shovel their sidewalks are generally considered to be complete jerks.

Here’s the map of DC’s snow emergency routes. They’re highlighted in red, because if you park there, it will be expensive:

SnowIceControl Snow Emergency Routes Map


Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.