Montgomery County Councilman Hans Riemer is trying to gather support among his colleagues for a plan that would improve the county’s plans for removing snow from sidewalks after winter storms.
“We have a very robust snow plow operation that clears the roads very efficiently, and our superb highway team is always working to improve its performance,” Riemer wrote in a letter to other council members. “However, we do not have a sufficient plan or policies in place to meet the challenge of removing snow from sidewalks and pedestrian crossings.”
Riemer’s plan would require the county’s Department of Transportation to create a “Sidewalk Snow Removal Plan” that would include:
• A map to show who is responsible for clearing show on all sidewalks in the county
• A communications plan of steps to be implemented for major winter storms
• An educational campaign to make property owners aware of where they are responsible for clearing sidewalks
• Plans for county removal of snow from bus stops and Metro stations, near schools, along state highways, along high-priority pedestrian routes, and
• Increased enforcement against property owners who don’t clear their sidewalks.
Riemer said last week that he wants to look at what it would take education, enforcement or the county stepping in to get people in problem areas to clear their sidewalks.
County law requires residents and business owners to clear the sidewalks in front of their properties within 24 hours after a storm.
In the letter to his fellow council members, Riemer said that while he recognizes winter storms already create a large expense for the county, making sure sidewalks are clear is also vital to the county’s interests.
“Clearing the roads is a critical mission, but ensuring that all residents have mobility after storm events is the real goal. We should not be satisfied with finishing part of the job,” he wrote.