Dealing with snow: Officials must do better
Today, days after the last flake fell, some schools are begging students and parents to come and help them dig out the sidewalks and the curbs.
And there are many streets still not safe to navigate with anything but a Humvee; my cousin lives in Bethesda and said a school bus could not maneuver down her road.
Yes it was a record snowfall, and yes, the greater Washington region is notoriously slow to recover from even a light dusting.
But this is ridiculous. School should be opening tomorrow across the area but it probably isn’t going to be safe for a lot of buses and cars to be out on the road--even without the fresh snow and rain and resultant slush we expect by morning.
Howard County Public Schools are already canceled for tomorrow and I’m betting other systems are going to wind up doing the same thing, or, at the very least, give people more time to get there. Rush hour is going to be a mess.
It has been made abundantly clear from various officials in our county and city governments that they are trying their hardest, pushing the limits of worker endurance and equipment capacity to clear the roads.
At this point, it’s not good enough. For school systems to have to ask people to help dig out today reveals poor planning on the part of everybody involved in snow removal and the business of getting back to business.
Some neighbors on our little block in the District hired a small private plow to dig out our street and alley when they got tired of waiting for a D.C. government plow. The plow driver was going around making money by digging out cars, $10 a pop. A bargain at twice the price.
There were a lot of independent plows making money on the side; how is that the local government wasn’t able to bring together every available plow in the city and put them to work in a systematic way?
What I hope doesn’t happen tomorrow is that officials ease up on their “safety first” rule just to get kids back in their classes. If the kids have to be home again, so be it.
Let’s get things cleaned up, and then let’s figure out how to plan better for next time. There will, of course, be a next time.
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