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Posted at 5:48 PM ET, 01/27/2011

D.C. crews ready for light snow Friday

By Washington Post Editors

D.C. snow teams will be on duty through Thursday to treat streets, combat possible freezing overnight and tackle the possibility of a light coating of snow for the morning commute.

"This has been a challenging storm to say the least, but our streets are in great shape today," Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said in a statement. "I commend the men and women of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works for their efforts around the clock to clear District streets of snow and sleet."

Officials said the city's Urban Forestry Administration also had received more than 300 calls for service related to trees and is still working to clear trees that are blocking roads.

The Capital Weather Gang said the area faces a possibility of accumulating up to a half inch of snow Friday.

In Northern Virginia, the state department of transportation said interstates and main roads have been cleared and crews hoped to have streets in residential neighborhoods passable by the Friday morning rush hour. VDOT's crews would also work overnight to treat roads to in advance of Friday's expect light snow, said spokeswoman Jennifer McCord.

By Washington Post Editors  | January 27, 2011; 5:48 PM ET
Categories:  District  
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"Light snow", that's about the most DDOT can handle. The DC government needs to get a clue. Send some people to northern cities to see how it's done effectively and efficiently. Sometimes it's about timing. Sometimes it's about lining up equipment and running it down a main street with a truck in each lane at the same time. If Gray is qualified to be a mayor, it needs to be of someplace on the Gulf coast or maybe in the desert.

Posted by: blankspace | January 27, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The District's response was as good as could be expected in any jurisdiction. Lets review, city crews were out pre-treating and treating the roads prior to and during the first storm. When the second, more powerful storm came through, first wiht rain/sleet washing all of the pre-treatment away, the city had every piece of equipment at its disposal out staged and prepared to salt and plow. When the snow began to fall during rush hour, they were caught in the same gridlock as everyone else.

In hindsight, best case scenario, the Feds should have let employees leave at the noon hour considering we knew the approximate time of the snowfall, this way drivers would have been out of the city when the snow began to fall and crews in the city, and region, could have better access to the roads.

All of the emergency evacuation routes out of town were gridlocked. The city is just not designed to accommodate a sudden quick evacuation with mass traffic. Studies have been done and exercises have been executed. To execute a mass evacuation you have to have resources in DC, MD and VA who can coordinate the process, you have to have traffic "people" manage vehicles coming to and from secondary roads onto major arterioles when you turn all traffic lanes into one way out of town. You have to tow cars parked along the evacuation routes to accommodate such an effort. If you increase the timing of the traffic signals it has to be seamless between DC, MD and VA.

We are in a recession, DC, MD and VA have terminated thousands of employees in order to balance budgets. All jurisdictions have staffing shortages and DC has a hiring freeze. You need bodies in the transportation departments of DC/MD/VA to make this work. Bodies that, unfortunately, these governments don't have.

If you wanted small government, hey, that is what you have. You cannot have it both ways.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | January 28, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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