Montgomery Co. bill calls for help clearing snowy sidewalks

Montgomery County At-Large Council Member Evan Glass is introducing a bill that would require the Maryland county to help clear snow and ice-covered walkways during the winter months.

The goal of the legislation is to make more of the county’s sidewalks safe. Glass said the bill’s importance has been magnified during the pandemic.

“For so many front-line essential workers, they are still taking public transportation,” Glass told WTOP. “They are still walking to their bus stop. And we have to make sure that they are safe while they’re on the sidewalk doing the work that they have to do.”

Montgomery County residents and businesses are already required to clear the sidewalks of snow and ice in front of their properties, and the county currently shovels about 60 miles of sidewalks that aren’t adjacent to private properties. However, Glass said there are still several areas that aren’t accounted for.

“Those are low-income communities with a greater percentage of people of color and lower income,” Glass said. “And we have to make sure that they receive fair attention during snow emergencies as well.”

Glass said the legislation has several co-sponsors and doesn’t put additional responsibilities on businesses or residents. Instead, it tasks the county’s Department of Transportation with ensuring sidewalks are clear.

Many of the sidewalks that don’t get tended to are in densely-populated communities, mostly in the eastern part of the county, Glass said.

He plans to introduce the bill Tuesday.

“I think it’s going to spark a conversation about how we fairly use county resources to clear sidewalks, and communities that really need it where people have to walk to get to the bus stop to get to public transportation, and they have to put their lives at risk, because nobody is currently fixing the sidewalks,” Glass said.

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Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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