Archive for the ‘weather’ category

Is There a Practical Way to Encourage More Businesses to Shovel Sidewalks During Snow Events?

February 17, 2016

(Example of unshoveled sidewalk at H&Pizza during the January blizzard (from Twitter))

Shoveling sidewalks continued to be an issue during the Presidents Day Holiday snow and ice event, reminding me that not everyone took the time to shovel their walkways. While it can be difficult at times to clear snow from sidewalks immediately after a snow event — and the two feet we received in January was a major challenge — most residents and many businesses did an overall good job of clearing the sidewalks.

One question that I’ve been asked a couple of times is: “What about businesses that are open for business but don’t shovel their walks, shouldn’t they be held to a higher standard?” While I’m not sure if there is a practical way to address this issue, I do personally feel that if a business has enough staff on site to open, they definitely should be able to shovel their sidewalks. Currently those who do not shovel their sidewalks risk being fined (seniors and those with disabilities can register for an exemption), but I’m unaware of anyone actually receiving a fine. This is not surprising as the city’s primary focus will always be clearing the streets to maintain public safety and restore normal transportation operations.

If the District actually had the people necessary to issue fines for unshoveled sidewalks, fines for unshoveled walkways at businesses open and operating could be doubled as an incentive … but then again, fines aren’t always the right way to go. Perhaps a better way to go would be to focus on getting the Georgia Avenue Main Streets up and running. A Main Streets could take on the responsibility of coordinating the clearing of Georgia Avenue’s sidewalks during bad weather.

Hopefully we’ve seen the end of snowy weather for the season and we can find a solution prior to the next season.

Blizzard Over, Digging Out Underway

January 25, 2016

The Blizzard of 2016 has come and gone … and while the official snow total for DC may never really be known … we do know that it left a lot of snow that will take a while to remove.

Two cars on Rock Creek Church Rd, where a single clear lane required cars to back up to allow passage.

Two cars on Rock Creek Church Rd, where a single clear lane required cars to back up to allow passage.

As of Sunday, a walk around Park View north of Park Road indicated that Georgia Avenue was reasonably clear. Streets like Warder Street, New Hampshire Avenue, Park Road, and Rock Creek Church Road (one presumes Irving and Columbia Road as well) were plowed for one lane of traffic. I personally observed how even this was inadequate for those who ventured out, as a single lane on Rock Creek Church Road often lead to cars meeting head on in the middle of the 600 block requiring one driver to drive backward to the next intersection to solve the impasse.

Other unsafe road conditions included vehicles traveling northbound on Park Place and youth on ATVs driving around the neighborhood during the afternoon.

Many side streets as of last night had been entirely unplowed —  with good examples being the 700 block of Newton Place and the 600 block of Quebec Place. Yet the snow-filled streets offered the occasional opportunity for fun and playfulness among those digging out as the snow puppy carved from a snow drift on Newton Place shows.

IMG_0075(Snow puppy created on the 700 b/o Newton Place, NW)

One area that was plowed extremely well was the 600 block of Morton Street, where the DC Housing Authority was on top of keeping the street and sidewalks around Park Morton clear, not only before the storm reach full blizzard conditions but also throughout the storm and during clean up.

(Intersection of Princeton Place and Warder Street just before noon on January 23, 2016)

All in all, after the first full day of digging out most residents and businesses did a fairly good job of clearing sidewalks or helping out those that needed assistance. More shoveling is sure to continue today as not all walkways were clear.

Below are a few photos showing conditions around the northern section of the neighborhood on Sunday.

Quebec Place(Looking west on Quebec Place from Park Place, January 23, 2016)

Newton Place(Looking west on Newton Place from Georgia Avenue)

Warder Street(Looking south on Warder Street from Rock Creek Church Road)

Georgia Avenue(Looking south down Georgia Avenue from New Hampshire Avenue)

DC Snow Emergency Begins at 9:30 am, Friday — Parking Available at DC USA

January 21, 2016

Mayor Bowser has declared a snow emergency starting at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, January 22. This means starting at 9:30 a.m. parking will be prohibited on emergency snow routes in the city (see map below), which include Georgia Avenue, 16th Street, U Street, and parts of Park Road, Kenyon, Irving, Columbia, Harvard, Florida and 9th in Ward 1.

Once the Official Snow Emergency goes into effect on Friday, then DC USA will allow nearby residents to use the parking facility for the price of $1 per day. According to DPW, upon arrival residents will receive a ticket and have their name and license plate information recorded by a U Street attendant. On their departure, the resident will present the same ticket received in order to get the discounted parking rate. Once the emergency has been lifted, any residents still using parking in the garage will be charged the difference, at the standard rate, for the time they were in the garage.

Snow emergency route map

Snow is Coming! — DPW Begins Sidewalk Shoveling Campaign

December 11, 2015

Yesterday, many residents of the District received a mailer informing homeowners about snow shoveling rules. While its a little hard to think about winter with 60° weather, snow is always a concern during the winter so its good to start thinking about it. Below is the front of the flyer that was distributed:

scan0001

The mailer outlines that all property owners are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and ramps within 24hrs after the end of a storm. If they do not, they may receive either a $25 (residents) or a $150 (commercial) fine. The elderly and people with disabilities living in their own homes are exempt from this requirement (sidewalk exemption form here). You can also read the full winter safety rules here.

Keeping Track of Hurricane Joaquin and Staying Prepared

October 2, 2015

Storm Preparedness

For those wanting to stay current on Hurricane Joaquin and possible impacts on the city, the District of Columbia Government has set up the Website ready.dc.gov and is monitoring the weather and the potential impacts to our area from the hurricane.

The following is the status and updates as of last night. Please visit ready.dc.gov for updates:

Significant rain and wind are expected through Monday, October 4.

District agencies are meeting daily to discuss the latest weather reports, potential impacts to the District, and next steps.

  • District government operations are open for business.
  • WMATA is currently planning to keep both Metrorail and Metrobus on normal schedule, but visit www.wmata.com for the latest information.

Residents in potentially affected areas should continue to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information.  Learn how you can get information on how to be prepared.

Online resources:

Snow Closes Area Governments & Schools, But Not Early Voting

March 17, 2014

The Federal and District Governments are closed today due to the snow, as are DC Public Schools. This was also supposed to be the first day of early voting but I haven’t heard if it’s been delayed or not. The closures will not impact early voting. The Board of Elections announced before 7 a.m. that early voting will begin at 10:00 a.m. today at the lone voting center at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th St. NW.

When you shovel today, be aware that the snow is wet and heavy. Take your time, consider shoveling smaller scoops, and if you have any neighbors who may needs assistance, lend a hand.

Below are a few photos of Rock Creek Church Road and Quebec Place taken around 7 a.m. this morning.

Quebec Place

Rock Creek Church Road

Shoveling Rock Creek Church Rd

Story for the Day … Snow!

February 13, 2014

With everything shut down today due to the snow, the only thing one can do is shovel the walkways, perhaps go out and play with the kids, and stay safe and warm inside. If you have any seniors or neighbors in need of assistance today, please consider lending a hand or checking in on them.

Below is a photo I found in the Library of Congress collection showing snow clean up in Washington, probably from the 1920s. While the vehicles have changed and we now have plows on the roads, most of us still rely on shovels, muscles, and determination to clear our sidewalks.

Af Am men shoveling snow


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