‘Stay off the roads,’ officials urge

WASHINGTON  – While you may be tempted to get back out on the roads as quickly as possible after the blizzard of 2016, you are urged to stay home.

There’s not much chance of getting anywhere, anyway. There are new changes on the roads for Monday:

  • The northbound George Washington Parkway is closed between Spout Run Parkway and Va. 123 until noon Monday for snow removal.
  • On Rock Creek Parkway, the reversible lane changes are canceled for Monday morning and afternoon.
  • Waterside Drive between Massachusetts Avenue and Rock Creek Parkway is closed until Saturday.

Metrorail will resume very limited service beginning at 7 a.m. Monday at most, but not all, underground stations. The Orange Line is running between Eastern Market and Ballston; the red Line, between Medical Center and Union Station, and the Green line, between Fort Totten and Anacostia, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said Monday morning.

He adds that rail service will be restored in phases — “We’re not going to wait for all above-ground stations to open at the same time” — and expects that more stations, including above-ground ones, will go back into service on Monday.

Metrobus is even more limited, Stessel says. From noon to 5 p.m., buses will run what Stessel calls “lifeline service” on 22 of the most important corridors in the region. He encourages riders to sign up for Metro alerts so they can be texted when their buses are running again.


“There’s a tendency, I think, people have cabin fever.  They see the sunshine out there.  They’re going to want to get in their cars and go out on the road.  It’s still very dangerous,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a Sunday news conference.

“Digging out from a storm of this magnitude will take time, most likely several days at least,” he said.

Hogan credited people staying home as the reason that road crews have made progress.

“Stay indoors, stay off the roads and allow our emergency workers to do their jobs,” he said.

Maryland State Highway Administrator Greg Johnson said that the primary interstate and U.S. routes have been cleared and “are for the most part open.”

By Monday, it’s expected the majority will be cleared, he said.

“That does not mean that folks can get out because there’s going to be a lot of local roadways that are still going to be very much snow-covered,” Johnson said.


Ellen Kamilakis, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said that the  “sheer magnitude” of the snow will mean that the clearing operations will take days.

She says it takes 48 hours from when the snow stopped for the main roads to be cleared. The snow stopped around midnight Sunday.

Crews start with the main roads to make sure trucks can get into gas stations and that deliveries can be made to grocery stores. That way once neighborhoods are cleared, you will be able to get the products you need.

“The neighborhoods are going to take a couple more days,” she says, adding that the neighborhoods pose a number of logistical challenges with the snow.

“How do you get it (the snow) out of the neighborhood? How to make sure you are not blocking people in?”


D.C. officials are reiterating similar advice.

“We not only need you to not only keep your vehicles off the streets, we need you to keep yourselves off the streets as well,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said during a Sunday news conference.

“We need to get our business districts open.”

The city’s snow emergency remains in effect, which means no parking on snow emergency routes.

Bowser said vehicles on snow routes face a $250 ticket and will be towed.

“We will aggressively ticket you and tow your vehicle.  It will not continue to impede our snow operation.”

D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Chris Geldart says it’s

“As you know, it’s cold.  We’re below freezing.  As of 9 o’clock tonight, we’ll be around that 20 degree mark, where the salt that are put down on the roads that are wet becomes ineffective.”

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier urges people not to walk in the street.

“We’re going to have to start stepping up and be a little more aggressive about asking our public, one, to not be walking out on the public streets.  I know it is difficult to walk on the side because it is not clear either, but walking down the middle of the street is really not safe and it hampers out ability to clean the streets. Two. Vehicles, you really need to just stay home,” Lanier said.

“We’ll be going through clearing the streets, plowing the streets, getting ourselves down to the pavement and treating those streets so we can keep that pavement as well as starting to pick up the snow and haul it off,” said D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management director Chris Geldart.

The process will take days.

“As you know, it’s cold.  We’re below freezing.  As of 9 o’clock tonight, we’ll be around that 20 degree mark, where the salt that are put down on the roads that are wet becomes ineffective,” Geldart said.

“Two feet of snow is a lot to move and that’s what we are taking on right now.”

The snow is being moved to several places around the District, including Lot 7 at RFK [Stadium].

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to WTOP.com in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up