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Alexandria proposes new snow rules

By Christy Goodman

Weather forecasters are not predicting the severe snowstorms the D.C. region experienced last winter, but Alexandria officials are putting together a new plan of attack.

A new system is being put in place that will categorize the severity of each snowstorm and how the city and its residents should respond, said Yon Lambert, deputy director of operations for Alexandria's transportation and environmental services.

About 90 percent of the city's snowstorms will be a Level 1, or up to 8 inches, Lambert said. City resources will be used to make roads first passable for emergency vehicles and significantly cleared for all vehicles within three days. Sidewalks would have to be cleared within 24 hours or the city could fine the property owner.

A Level 2 storm would take city staff more time to clear roadways and outside resources might be needed. Sidewalks would have to be clear within 48 hours of the last snowfall.

In a Level 3 storm, like the ones the region saw in February, "All bets are off. These are natural disasters that will outstrip city resources," Lambert said. Sidewalks would have to be clear within 72 hours and roadways would only be open to emergency vehicles.

Another proposal would allow taxi drivers to add a $5 surcharge per trip once the city manager has declared a snow emergency.

The City Council also is considering reducing the number of snow emergency routes from 28 streets down to eight, which include long stretches of King, Washington and Duke streets.

"A lot of lessons were learned [last winter] and we are in the process of reacting," said Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille.

The proposed sidewalk snow removal regulations, taxi snow surcharge and emergency plans and routes will be the subject of public hearings Saturday. More information can be found here.

By Christy Goodman  | November 10, 2010; 6:28 PM ET
Categories:  Northern Virginia  
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I think this plan makes sense, but I would like to see a little more emphasis on ensuring that all streets are at least passable in a given amount of time. This time around, entire streets were never plowed, making things extremely difficult for those of us without vehicles with high ground clearance. Just running a plow down the street a single time is enough to make the street passable. Of course they would have to send plows down the streets before the top level freezes so that they don't have to treat the streets before plowing.

Posted by: slar | November 10, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

yeah, let's pay the worthless politicians more money to talk about it.

Posted by: OldSalt8 | November 10, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

"[R]oadways would only be open to emergency vehicles."

What does that mean? They're going to prohibit people from driving? Yeah, good luck with that.

My truck was one of the few vehicles that could get around in the snow. It's a lifted F150 4x4 with off road tires.

On more than one occasion I passed stuck snow plows. I spent half the most of the snow storms volunteering at the hospital and driving people around.

Good luck enforcing that one...

Alexandria is run by morons.

Posted by: IwanaGofishing | November 11, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

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