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County Considers Snow Response Changes in Wake of Snowzilla

Snow plow on Jan. 24, 2016The remnants of January’s blizzard may have finally melted, but the storm is still producing policy repercussions in Arlington County.

The county has been soliciting resident feedback on its snow removal effort and there has been no shortage of opinions: some 3,000 constituents responded to an online survey alone.

In response, County Manager Mark Schwartz yesterday presented an initial report for the County Board, outlining a number of snow removal changes that are being considered.

Among the proposed changes:

  • Plow both major roads and residential streets simultaneously during large snow storms, rather than only focusing on major roads and leaving residential streets snow-covered until after the storm.
  • Adding “backup drivers” for large snow storms.
  • Better utilizing staff and contractors “to minimize snow piling at intersections and sidewalks and reduce missed streets.”
  • Improving training and oversight of contractors “to minimize obstructive snow piling.”
  • “Improving technology used to track, monitor and communicate progress during snow and ice removal.”
  • Better utilizing volunteers and coordinating with Arlington’s civic associations.

Longer term changes also being consider include:

  • Adding a snow removal staging area in north Arlington and adding new equipment like backhoe plows and a new snow melter.
  • Odd-even parking requirements, enforcement of snow emergency routes and opening parking garages during large snow  events to reduce obstructions on residential streets for snow plows.

Schwartz is expected to present a more comprehensive report later this year.

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