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Before You Forget Snowmageddon…
Pedestrians and transit users suffered during this year's snowstorms.  Now's the time to improve the response for next year.  Photo: NCinDC.

Pedestrians and transit users suffered during this year's snowstorms. Now's the time to improve the response for next year. Photo: NCinDC.

Now that spring is almost here, Snowmageddon and Snoverkill – and all the challenges they posed to pedestrians and transit users – are but a distant memory for many. But let’s not let the opportunity to learn from this winter’s experiences slide by. Following up on our continued coverage of the recent blizzard’s sustainable mobility impacts, TheCityFix wants to call your attention to two pieces of snow-related news:

First, U.S. DOT released a policy statement last week that directs state and local governments to remove snow from sidewalks and shared-use paths. The statement, which acknowledges the many benefits of walking and bicycling and formally articulates DOT’s support for planning, funding and implementing improvements to the pedestrian and bike networks, explicitly instructs local officials to attend to walkers’ and bikers’ needs during snow events:

Transportation agencies and local communities should go beyond minimum design standards and requirements to create safe, attractive, sustainable, accessible, and convenient bicycling and walking networks. Such actions should include:

  • Removing snow from sidewalks and shared-use paths: Current maintenance provisions require pedestrian facilities built with Federal funds to be maintained in the same manner as other roadway assets. State Agencies have generally established levels of service on various routes especially as related to snow and ice events.

Second, if you are still rankled that your D.C.-area jurisdiction did not follow the above instructions this winter, you can attend the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s After Action Leadership Forum on Regional Snow Response, scheduled for April 5. The meeting will focus on the regional response to this season’s unprecedented snow and explore opportunities for future improvement. Though this event is primarily targeted at local officials, the public is invited to attend. RSVP by March 26.

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  • Jenny

    I was very glad to see that Sec. LaHood brought up snow removal from sidewalks and bicycle paths as a critical issue. This past January, I visited Norway and witnessed how they not only had separated walking and bicycle paths along the 45 minute drive out of Oslo, but that they had removed the snow from these paths as well. In order for people to be able to depend on these modes, cities need to commit resources to maintaining them just as they maintain the roads regardless of the conditions. Thanks Sec. LaHood!