Friday, January 29, 2016

Fairfax to residents: Take Your Snow and Shovel It

If you've tried to walk or ride anywhere in the county you know that VDOT and Fairfax County do not clear snow from sidewalks and trails. To make matters worse, VDOT snow removal crews usually dump huge piles of snow at the intersections, forcing pedestrians to walk in the road.

Fairfax County does not have a sidewalk/trail snow removal policy. The Board of Supervisors has discussed the issue many, many times. They've held snow summits. What's the outcome of all this talk? A web page that tells residents to Take Your Snow and Shovel It. While we agree that it's good to encourage residents to clear snow from sidewalks, this is not a very impressive outcome of all the talk.

It seems that every time it snows lately, the excuse is that it's a once in a lifetime storm and the county and VDOT can't be expected to make it safe for pedestrians and cyclists to get around. We don't accept that anymore. Maybe there should be a moratorium on transportation spending for new projects until the state and county can figure out how to maintain our existing infrastructure.

We also need a snow removal ordinance. Arlington and Alexandria require residents to clear snow on their sidewalks and the county needs to do the same, with exceptions for those who physically can't remove the snow and a county-organized volunteer program to help others.

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I drove past three high school today and there is no way students who walk to school can use the sidewalks because they are buried in snow, which means the county policy forces students to walk in the streets. Completely unsafe policy.

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