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Ice City: The District's Cool New Tool

Things change, and things stay the same. In the District, where clearing streets of snow and ice has long been an extra special challenge, the city's performance during winter weather events has definitely improved in recent years. But there's still a ways to go, and now the Adrian Fenty administration has developed a cool new tool you can use to check up on the District's progress in making the streets passable.

Click here and you'll find an interactive map that shows you in real time which streets have been plowed or salted and which remain untreated. In my travels this morning, I've found the DC Snowplow pilot project to be quite accurate: My own street remains, as the map says, untouched by municipal services, whereas the next block over indeed got the very nice salt treatment that the map says it got.

Looking up your street on the map doesn't do anything to get you out of your house and on your way to work, but it is a nifty way to determine how easy it will be to get where you're headed. And it's a nice piece of evidence to have if you want to start agitating for city services. Plus, it's just downright cool.

Preliminary conclusion: There is, as legions of mayors have contended, no rhyme or reason to which neighborhoods get service and which don't. Sorry, but all those wonderful conspiracy theories about how the city favors rich neighborhoods or favors poor neighborhoods, or favors one race over another, falter in the face of the Snowplow tool's picture of a city where random blocks got salted and others just didn't.

Anyway, it's a nice way to pass the hours on a quiet, lovely ice day.

By Marc Fisher |  February 14, 2007; 12:16 PM ET
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"Anyway, it's a nice way to pass the hours on a quiet, lovely ice day."

Especially when you can no longer credibly rant about hysterical weather forecasters and school officials?

Posted by: mark | February 14, 2007 1:42 PM

ice loves soccer

Posted by: dc | February 14, 2007 2:16 PM

But the map shows all the treated streets as just salted, not plowed, and I have seen streets being plowed, in Chinatown for instance.

Posted by: DC | February 14, 2007 2:31 PM

Cool map. It doesn't seem to cover some of the streets, however. For example, it's showing Independence Avenue as unplowed (at 2:35 pm), but a glance out the window shows it's been plowed clear.

Posted by: Moose | February 14, 2007 2:38 PM

I always go to Marc when it snows. He's the man to put all the whiners in their place. Great spot on WTWP regarding snow forecasting and all the hype. You may have rubbed HH wrong, but hey, they do hype it, with all cameras pointed to the one flake. Drama, drama, drama.

Posted by: SnowLover | February 14, 2007 5:57 PM

I'd like to see a map that overlays plowing/salting with addresses that have low license plates registered to them. Just 'cause there's no obvious pattern, doesn't mean there isn't a pattern...

Posted by: Mark | February 14, 2007 7:19 PM

Marc needs to extricate his nose from Adrian Fenty's butt.

Posted by: Smooch | February 14, 2007 8:12 PM

Marc, I think the map is, frankly, mostly BS. It may track where a plow has been - but one pass does not equal a adequately passable road. On Connecticut Ave northbound between Florida Ave and Columbia Road, the left lane is totally impassable - looks like it was never plowed. And this is 9:30 PM on Wednesday! Tell me that's a good job.

This plowing effort, while better than Marion Barry's (what's not) is hardly sufficient for a major American city. Fenty gets a big thumbs down for this. And sorry, but mayors, rightly or wrongly, get the blame when plowing goes bad.

BTW, Marc, how about beating up businesses that haven't shoveled their sidewalks?

Posted by: JH | February 14, 2007 10:50 PM

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