Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:04 AM
Published on: Thursday, February 27, 2014
By Peter Rouleau
ROCKVILLE-Responding to the season’s continuing precipitation has already exceeded the County’s budget for snow removal and, according to one County Councilmember, one of the main challenges posed by snowy weather is not adequately addressed by current procedures.
Councilmember Hans Riemer has addressed a letter to his fellow members urging them to draft legislation requiring the County Department of Transportation to create a plan for removing snow from sidewalks in the aftermath of the storm.
“I have seen or heard reports of pedestrians walking in the street on major roads, mothers pushing strollers over sidewalks that have not been cleared, seniors and individuals with mobility challenges unable to enter a street crossing because it is blocked by snow, and even motorized wheel chairs moving in traffic lanes on state highways (in this case, University Blvd) because sidewalks are impassable,” Reimer writes in his letter. “We know that the county considers its snow removal work complete long before these problems have been resolved.”
Among the key elements of the legislation proposed by Reimer are:
• The creation of a digital map showing who is responsible for clearing snow on all sidewalks in the county
• Increased enforcement for property owners who fail to clear their sidewalks
• County-provided snow removal at bus-stops, Metro Stations, near schools, state highways and high-priority pedestrian routes.
• A plan for trash removal if snow forces a collection cancellation.
Esther Bowring, a Public Information Officer for the County, said that the Department of Transportation has not yet had time to consider Reimer’s proposal. She urged County residents to sign up for 311 alerts on their computers or mobile devices so as to stay informed about weather-related dangers and closings in the county.
Posted By: JK On: 3/1/2014
It's dangerous for pedestrians to move around the county days and weeks after a significant (5" or greater) snowfall. While I've noticed that most homeowners clear their sidewalks in a relatively timely manner, there are many sidewalks of unknown ownership/responsibility that are never manually cleared forcing people into the streets.
While they are at it, the enormous snow piles that end up at the entrance to intersections due to plowing should be cleared. It's difficult to see around them.