Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Supervisor Hudgins asks for forum on sidewalk snow removal

W&OD Trail after snow clearing
At the Fairfax Co Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday Hunter Mill District Supervisor Hudgins raised the issue of snow removal on sidewalks. She asked the Board to direct staff to hold a "forum for discussion of sidewalk snow removal." The Board has addressed this issue repeatedly in the past as we outlined in a recent blog post on snow-covered sidewalks and trails. We will suggest that snow removal on trails and bike lanes be included in the discussion.

This will be a good opportunity to discuss ways to clear the most important walkways and bikeways of snow, especially those leading to activity and transit centers.

Some progress is being made in Fairfax. For the first time this year NVRPA staff removed snow on the W&OD Trail, and Reston Association regularly clears their trails of snow.

Below is the text of the Board Matter. Thanks to Supervisor Hudgins for taking the lead on this issue. When more information is available about the forum we'll pass it on:
Supervisor Catherine M. Hudgins
Hunter Mill District

 February 25, 2014

Sidewalk Snow Removal

As Fairfax County continues to clean up from the latest winter storm, once again the issue of snow removal on sidewalks has been brought up in the Hunter Mill District. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has directed County staff to work on a sidewalk snow removal policy five different times in the past from 2003 to the present. In the past, we had discussions on whether to regulate snow removal with an ordinance and we have even had coordinated community snow removal volunteer efforts. However, these measures continue to miss the mark without an ordinance or the structure of a coordinated agreement.  The lack of pedestrian access during snow events causes safety issues for school children and transit users throughout the entire community. As portions of Fairfax County began to urbanize, the inability of pedestrian travel during snow events causes an unnecessary hindrance to our constituents.  It is time to revisit this matter.

Proposed Action:
Madam Chairman, I move that the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive and the Office of Public Affairs to provide a forum for discussion of sidewalk snow removal. The forum should include the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT), Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES), and community organizations. The goal of the forum is better coordination between these agencies to help provide safe access for school children, pedestrians, and transit customers.

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