Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Walkers were left out in the cold after the ‘Snowzilla’ blizzard"

Or so says David Alpert, founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington, in his op-ed in the Post.  As he suggests, it's pretty clear that no "suburban" jurisdiction has a plan to deal with sidewalks in the event of a winter storm, thus indicating that pedestrian access and safety really isn't a priority even though officials sometimes pay lip service to these issues.
In Fairfax County, sidewalks in neighborhoods and along major arterial roads were impassable a week or more after the storm....
This was no simple issue of having to prioritize; as Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova told residents, the Virginia Department of Transportation, which plows all of Fairfax’s public roads, was not going to do anything about the sidewalks, and the county had no plan to either....
Fairfax isn’t alone. Arlington County and other jurisdictions likewise had no plan to clear sidewalks.
Things were pretty much the same on the other side of the Potomac.  Even here in the urban southeastern corner of Montgomery County, sidewalks were not cleared along major roadways such as New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard even though these roads have some of the busiest Metrobus routes in the DC area.  Perhaps more tellingly, the pedestrian islands and medians at the intersection of these two six-lane streets were never cleared, forcing pedestrians to walk in the roadway and indicating that the Maryland State Highway Administration also does not intend to clear walkways even when they are found in the middle of its busiest highways.  

Conditions weren't much better on the other side of town as the photo accompanying the Post piece shows downtown Takoma looking north from the DC side
along with the caption "A pedestrian walks down the middle of the street because the sidewalks have not been shoveled on Jan. 26 in Takoma Park."  If that date is accurate, then nothing had been done to the sidewalks four days after the storm.

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