Sidewalk Snow Removal Plan Could Be In The Works

Wisconsin Avenue J2 Metrobus stop completely covered in snow on Feb. 14A plowing plan for the Capital Crescent Trail may not be the only move to come as a result of last week’s heavy snowfall.

Councilmember Hans Riemer on Friday sent a memo (PDF below) to other council members asking Council staff to draft a bill that would require Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation to create a Sidewalk Snow Removal Plan.

Montgomery County does not plow, remove or treat snow on any sidewalks or trails.

Riemer said he hopes a Sidewalk Snow Removal Plan would mean county-provided snow removal at bus stops, around Metro stations, near schools, along state highways, “highest priority pedestrian routes,” and in urban districts.

Riemer praised the county’s response to clearing snow from county roads, but said Montgomery does not “have a sufficient plan or policies in place to meet the challenge of removing snow from sidewalks or pedestrian crossings.”

“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 wheelchairs moving in traffic lanes on state highways (in this case, University Blvd) because sidewalks are impassable,” Riemer wrote. “We know that the county considers its snow removal work complete long before these problems have been resolved.”

He also wants the Removal Plan to include an online map to show who is responsible for clearing snow on every sidewalk in the county, a public education campaign for property owners responsible for clearing their walks and more enforcement of property owners who don’t shovel their sidewalks along pedestrian priority routes.

It didn’t take long after the snow last Thursday for folks to complain about snowy, slushy sidewalks that forced many pedestrians to try their chances on the road.

Property owners are responsible for clearing their public sidewalks, driveways and entrances within 24 hours of the end of a snow storm.

PDF: Riemer – Sidewalk Snow Removal Plan

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