Public Works snow removal plan
By Daryl Braithwaite, Public Works Director
Public Works staffers are preparing to work hard to clear whatever snow falls on Takoma Park’s 34 miles of city-maintained roads, as well as walkways and sidewalks around city parks and public buildings. City staff tracks potential storms as they develop and prepares our response. Plow crews start plowing operations when one inch of snow is on the ground and are prepared to work 12-hour shifts. The City uses Public Works Right of Way staff as primary plow drivers, and sanitation drivers fill in the second shift. When significant snowfall occurs, city trash and recycling collection may be canceled to allow sanitation drivers to pitch in with road clearing. The City’s garden division staff clears public sidewalks during daylight hours with assistance as needed from temporary laborers. Public Works encourages businesses and residents to do their part to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks adjoining their property.
Takoma Park’s winter weather response plan divides the city into five snow removal zones, each with an assigned response vehicle. Within each zone, “primary streets” are those with the most traffic, and those that connect neighborhoods. “Secondary streets” are shorter, with fewer homes, and include courts, alleys and dead ends. The City’s crews first clear primary streets and then proceed to secondary streets. The City’s goal is to create two travelable lanes on each primary street within a 12- hour shift if the snow fall is six inches or less. If the snow fall is six inches or more, the expectation is to have one travelable lane over a 12-hour period. Snow removal equipment remains in service around the clock until all the roads are cleared. To see a map of snow removal routes, go to www. takomaparkmd.gov/snow.
Often, when severe weather is on the way, the City begins anti-icing procedures by applying a sand salt mixture or liquid de-icing chemicals to the street surface. Plowing begins once snowfall has accumulated to one inch on the street. If the storm produces only sleet and ice, the city treats roadways with sand and salt. Snow and ice response service on some streets is performed by outside agencies. The State Highway Administration is responsible for clearing Carroll Avenue, Ethan Allen Avenue, New Hampshire Avenue, Philadelphia Avenue and Piney Branch Road. Sligo Creek Parkway is a Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission roadway, and snow and ice response is performed by Montgomery County. However, city plows will assist with snow removal on these streets in the course of their work to clear city streets.
If you have any questions before or during a winter event, please contact the Public Works Department at 301-891-7633.
This article appeared in the January 2017 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.