|Rt. 410 on Saturday Morning|
This was a tough snowstorm. Twenty to thirty inches fell across the County making this one of our heaviest snowstorms in many years. If the 2016 Farmer's Almanac is correct, we will likely have a few more snowstorms between now and March. I'm sure we can all agree that our mild winter is behind us and that next time we need to do better.
Months ago our Department of Public Works & Transportation began planning for snow events by checking equipment, laying out routes, and more. Prior to the storm equipment was deployed to strategic locations throughout the County, 12-hour shifts were scheduled, and an emergency command center got up and running.
Even with a strong strategy in place, we ran into challenges. People and equipment are not built to run continuous 12-hour shifts for days on end. When 300 vehicles are in operation, breakdowns occur. Our phone center and website got overwhelmed and went down at crucial times.
I certainly thank our Department of Public Works & Transportation, our 3-1-1 call center and others for their work, yet I am very aware that there are things that could have been done better. Please be assured, those discussions are taking place.
On Wednesday morning I drove around District 3 and saw the work you did to clear sidewalks and check in on neighbors. It was not perfect, but sidewalks were significantly better than they have been in previous years. Thank you!
|Thank you to Roswil for spreading the word about snow parking regulations.|
There are ways our residents need to do better next time, too. Perhaps because snow was so light last year, too many people forgot the importance of only parking on the EVEN side of the street or in driveways. (Note: Municipalities may have different snow parking rules.) I realize many homes don't have a driveway and many homes have several cars per house, but we need to work together to ensure that all cars are in driveways or on the even side of the street before snow falls.
In District 3 alone, about 300 streets or partial blocks missed being plowed on Sunday because the snowplow could not maneuver down the block or road. Some of these streets are key gateways into communities, which means that streets further back couldn't be accessed at all. The ripple effect was tremendous.
Snowplows need at least fifteen feet to maneuver and with more than 20 inches of snow on the ground, they need significant space to place the snow to the side. Over the next week, I will mail letters to residents on the streets and blocks that were not plowed on the first pass because of noncompliance with the parking rules. I ask you to help me spread the word about this as well so we will be better prepared next time to remove snow on your road and in your neighborhood.
In major events like this there are always heroes. I give a big thank you to our Prince George's Police Department teen Police Explorers
under the leadership of Corporal Black. They came to the aid of seniors and disabled residents in Beacon Heights and Kingswood quickly and with little preparation the moment I asked.
I know that many of you helped your neighbors as well. But I have also realized that we have many more residents who need help in these situations, so I am creating a District 3 snow removal volunteer list.
If you may be available to help in your community during the next snow, please send an email to Wanda Brooks at email@example.com
and she will add you to the list. Our civic leaders will also be reaching out to identify people in the community who could help within specific neighborhoods. By the time the next storm arrives, we will be better prepared to help those who need our assistance.
Lastly, as roads continue to be plowed, please keep an eye out for people walking in the street. Many of our state road sidewalks are covered as plows continue to push snow to the edge. People are walking in the road or standing in the street at intersections. Bus stops are blocked. Please be alert.
Together Strengthening Our Community,