As Montgomery County digs out from its largest snowfall of the winter, a county councilman is pondering ways to improve snow removal from sidewalks, bus stops and other places in the county’s urban areas.
During snow or ice storms, people on foot still need to be able to negotiate bus stops, Metro stations and other common pedestrian areas, said Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At Large) of Takoma Park.
Generally, the responsibility for clearing sidewalks falls on the business owner or the property owner, Riemer said.
Riemer said he would like to see a program in the county’s urban districts in Silver Spring and Wheaton similar to the one in the urban district of Bethesda, where the Bethesda Urban Partnership helps with snow removal.
“Really, it’s a basic service that every urban district should provide,” Riemer said.
Riemer said he may ask if County Executive Isiah Leggett would add some money for snow removal in the Silver Spring and Wheaton districts to his operating budget scheduled to be released in March, or the county could add some money during its part of the budget process.
The urban areas have a potential solution in place with the urban districts, the county would just have to expand their responsibilities, he said.
The Bethesda Urban Partnership doesn’t remove snow on sidewalks, just crosswalks and curb cuts, said Stephanie Coppula, spokeswoman for the partnership.
Their crews also remove trash, sweep streets, she said.
The Bethesda group is a partnership between the county and private groups, which handles marketing and maintenance for downtown Bethesda.