January 21, 2016
Following is information I hope is helpful as you prepare for the storm.
Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will begin with a “pre-treatment” of County roads (a salt and water mix) before the snowfall. Plowing will begin once three inches of snow or more have accumulated. MCDOT will prioritize emergency and primary roads and then move on to residential streets. There is a map on the County website that allows you to follow along the County’s progress in real time, which can be accessed here: http://www7.montgomerycountymd.gov/snowmap/. You can search for a specific address or street. You may also find useful information in the County’s FAQ about snow removal here: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT-highway/snow/snowplow.html
Many if not most of the biggest roads in the County are state highways. These are the numbered roads. Pre-treatment and snow removal on those roads is conducted by the State Highway Administration (SHA). You can view their winter fact sheet here and/or contact them directly here. Requests or complaints about state highways that our county DOT receives are forwarded to SHA for action. The state makes its own decisions about pretreatment and removal; as we saw on Wednesday night of this week, there have been times when the County acts to pre-treat the roads but the state does not.
Sidewalk Snow Removal
Two years ago when the County last experienced a storm of this magnitude, we saw or heard reports of pedestrians walking in the street on major roads, mothers pushing strollers over sidewalks that had not been cleared, seniors and individuals with mobility challenges unable to enter a street crossing because it was blocked by snow, and even motorized wheelchairs moving in traffic lanes on state highways (in this case, University Blvd) because sidewalks were impassable. This is why clearing sidewalks of snow is so important. Residents must clear their sidewalks from snow within 24 hours after a snow event. Please consider whether your neighbors are able to clear sidewalk snow, and if not, how you might be able to help them find a solution. For more information on this issue, visit the County’s sidewalk snow website, http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/safesidewalks/.
Last year I authored legislation, which the Council supported, to require the county to create a Sidewalk Snow Removal Plan. We are waiting for the presentation of this plan to the County Council. In the mean time, my observation is that residents are pulling together to meet this challenge much better than in the past, as are businesses and the government. But we have more to do. Please let me know your experiences so that I can be better informed as we continue developing the Plan.
According to Pepco, this storm may bring power outages. If you experience an outage, it is very important to report the outage to Pepco. Here is a website to use, http://www.pepco.com/pages/connectwithus/outages/outagemaps.aspx. Here is how to prepare for a power outage, http://www.ready.gov/power-outage,
County Parks Open for Sledding
Last year, friends asked me if they were allowed to sled on County golf course property. I inquired with the Parks Department and Casey Anderson, Chairman of the MNCPPC. I learned that there is no policy against sledding. In subsequent discussions at the Council I requested that Parks actively encourage this recreational activity by mapping great sledding hills and getting the word out. So I am delighted to share the Park’s Department newest release: Best Hills for Sledding in Montgomery County Parks!
For more information, visit Montgomery County’s emergency management office website, http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcg/emergency/stayinformed.html
Sign up for alerts on this snow storm as well as other important by information by visiting Alert Montgomery.
If you need assistance from the County at any time, call 311.
Please contact me by emailing Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov with any questions or concerns you may have. My team and I will be “on call” during this weekend to assist you.