Published on: Sunday, January 13, 2019 City Manager & Staff Blog

Winter Weather Update

Good morning!

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had a substantial snowfall in Takoma Park. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take long before the snow clearing routines fall into place for City staff.

City Manager Suzanne Ludlow, Now

Public Works snow clearing crews reported for work a little before 6 pm last night and worked twelve hours. The crews include drivers of trucks (with plows and sand/salt spreaders attached) as well as a truck mechanic. Before the snow really stuck to the streets, the crews treated hills and major streets. After the snow became more substantial, plowing began. As of 5 am today, most streets had a lane plowed in Takoma Park.

We had one mechanical breakdown. A small truck that focuses on plowing alleys and dead-end streets had a problem with the drive shaft. Our mechanic was working on it overnight and it may be able to be repaired in a timely way.

Because it is Sunday, there are fewer people heading out early to work or school. City facilities are not scheduled to open until noon. If the snow keeps coming, however, we may choose not to open so that staff can focus on snow clearing. I will make a determination before 11 am after I hear from staff on conditions.

Today, I ask that residents work on clearing sidewalks and helping neighbors. It is much better to shovel several times during a snow event rather than wait until it is all over, and it is much easier and safer to shovel during daylight hours. If you can move cars off of the street so that our Public Works drivers can clear from curb to curb, that would be very helpful!

A look at our snow operations:

The second shift of plow operators reported to work before 6 am today. Last night’s shift were our Right-of-Way staff who normally do work on streets, medians, parks, etc for the City. Today’s day shift consists of our Sanitation workers. Right-of-Way staff will likely return at 6 pm today for another shift.

During the day today, the snow plow operators will be joined by other Public Works staff who will focus on clearing sidewalks and the areas around City facilities. A mechanic and other specialized Public Works staff will be working as well.

During a major snow event, the Police Department serves as our eyes and ears, identifying problem areas and issues. The Police Dispatch operators receive calls from the public and others reporting problems and send officers or alert Public Works managers to address them. If you become aware of a slippery street or other similar condition in Takoma Park, please call 301-270-1100 so that it can be addressed. (But, as always, call 911 if there is an emergency.)

Last night, there were few problems noted by the Police Department, which to me means most people were inside when roads were getting slippery. Things will pick up during the day today. Please be safe when you are out and about, whether you’re walking, shoveling or driving!

We will continue to get information out about closings and operations. Residents and businesses are responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks in front of their property, so that will be a big task. We’ll get through this snow event together.

While snow comes with work, it is also fun to play in! Whether you go sledding, or just are reading a book while enjoying the beauty of snow through a window, have a great day!