What is parking and shoveling etiquette during snowstorms?

WTOP listeners and WTOP.com readers discussed "shoveling etiquette" following February\'s snowstorms. (WTOP File Photo)

WASHINGTON – It stops snowing, the plows have cleared the street and you spend time and energy digging out your car – and when you return, the space you dug out has been taken by another car.

Are drivers allowed to “claim” on-street parking spaces they dig out? What about spaces in parking lots? Are there snow shoveling etiquette rules during snowstorms?

The recent snowstorm has put on-street parking at a premium in the District and surrounding areas as parking is restricted to make room for snowplows and some empty spaces in parking lots get filled with piled-up snow that can take days to melt.

WTOP’s Saturday “Talkback” feature asked listeners and WTOP.com readers to discuss parking and other etiquette issues during snowstorms.

Some listeners openly praised their neighbors for volunteering to shovel out the sidewalks and driveways of older neighbors. Listeners said it’s ok to throw snow in someone’s yard if there’s really no other place to put it. Some local residents point out that shoveling can be good exercise if you do it correctly (lift with your legs, not with your back).

Kathleen wrote on the WTOP Facebook page, “The worst is when you shovel the spot your car was in and then someone parks in it. I get it, tech they all are free game, but it’s just flat out rude. If everyone just shoveled one spot instead of being lazy this wouldn’t happen. I love snow but absolutely loathe it for this very reason.”

Also on the WTOP Facebook page, Karli wrote, “I have two assigned parking spaces in a townhome development. My neighbor dug her car out and dumped all the snow into my empty space, making it twice as hard for me to shovel…very inconsiderate to throw snow onto my parking spot.” Karli notes she wouldn’t have minded if the snow had been shoveled into her yard.

There are no official regulations on “saving spaces” in D.C., but WTOP reporters have seen residents place chairs or orange cones in parking spaces they hope to keep for themselves if they need to move their car.

What do you think? Weigh in on our Facebook page or comment on this story.

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