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Snow Removal On Sidewalks

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Snow Removal On Sidewalks

Board Transportation Committee

Dec. 9, 2014

Published in: News & Politics
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Snow Removal On Sidewalks

  1. 1. County of Fairfax, Virginia Snow Removal on Sidewalks Board Transportation Committee Chief, Traffic Operations Section Fairfax County Department of Transportation Department of Transportation December 9, 2014 Neil Freschman 1
  2. 2. County of Fairfax, Virginia Snow Removal on Sidewalks • Snow & ice season beginning soon. • Review current status of snow removal policies and other considerations. • Recent meeting to discuss these issues. • Increased focus on the issue as a result of the new Silver Line stations and redevelopment activities in Tysons Corner and Reston; however, this is not a new problem. Department of Transportation 2
  3. 3. County of Fairfax, Virginia • VDOT does not clear sidewalks or trails. • Snow removal on sidewalks is currently not regulated by the County. • Many businesses, HOA’s and residents are already clearing sidewalks, but not required to do so by County ordinance. • However, many sidewalks are not cleared during snow events. Sidewalks can also be blocked with additional snow that has been plowed from streets and driveways. Department of Transportation Key Issues 3
  4. 4. County of Fairfax, Virginia • In the County’s Urban Centers and TOD’s there is an increasing dependence on walkways to support multi-modal transportation and an increasing expectation to use these facilities throughout the year. • Pedestrians, including transit users, have difficulty during snow events. Department of Transportation Key Issues 4
  5. 5. County of Fairfax, Virginia • County website: Neither the state nor the county clears snow and ice from public walkways. • Residents and businesses are not legally required to clear snow, but are asked to help keep sidewalks safe. Department of Transportation Current Status 5
  6. 6. County of Fairfax, Virginia Existing Responsibilities Several state, local and regional entities currently have responsibilities for clearing snow from public facilities in Fairfax County. •Fairfax County Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division (MSMD) manages snow removal for County facilities including: – Walkways at the County Government Centers – County-owned Commuter Parking Lots and Transit Facilities – Public Safety Center – Fire and Police stations – Two Kiss and Ride areas on the Silver Line – Health Centers and Essential County Facilities – Libraries and Community Centers Department of Transportation 6
  7. 7. County of Fairfax, Virginia Existing Responsibilities (continued) (continued) •MSMD performs snow removal through partnerships with Solid Waste Management, Wastewater Management, Sheriff’s Office, and private contractors. •Fairfax County DOT is responsible for clearing Wiehle – Reston East Bus Vault and Kiss and Ride. •DPWES is working on plans to clear snow on several commuter-oriented trails in Tysons starting next year. Department of Transportation 7
  8. 8. County of Fairfax, Virginia Existing Responsibilities (continued) (continued) •WMATA is responsible for most of the other Metrorail station facilities in Fairfax County. •VDOT is responsible for VDOT-owned park-and-ride lots in Fairfax County. •VRE is responsible for VRE stations and platforms. Department of Transportation 8
  9. 9. County of Fairfax, Virginia Public Information Campaign • On November 20th, a meeting was held to discuss a snow removal public information campaign. Participants included: – Board of Supervisors’ representatives – Virginia DOT – Fairfax County DOT – Office of Public Affairs – Public Schools • Public information campaign is being developed to encourage residents, businesses and civic groups to clear sidewalks and help your neighbors. • This campaign is part of a voluntary program. Department of Transportation 9
  10. 10. County of Fairfax, Virginia Neighboring Jurisdictions • Some jurisdictions in the region do not have an ordinance requiring the clearing of sidewalks. These jurisdictions generally ask for voluntary action. – Prince William County – Loudoun County – Town of Vienna: Assistance offered on limited basis to elderly residents. – Town of Herndon: Town DPW clears some pedestrian facilities on select major routes and around schools. Department of Transportation 10
  11. 11. County of Fairfax, Virginia Neighboring Jurisdictions • Some jurisdictions in the region do have ordinances requiring residents and businesses to clear sidewalks: Department of Transportation 11 – City of Alexandria – City of Falls Church – City of Fairfax – District of Columbia • Recently approved an ordinance allowing for fines for residents and business owners, if they don’t clear public sidewalks. • Previous ordinance permitted DC to clear sidewalks and then sue owners to recoup costs. No examples of actual enforcement were identified.
  12. 12. County of Fairfax, Virginia Neighboring Jurisdictions Department of Transportation 12 • Arlington County – The Code of Virginia allows Counties in Planning District 8 (Northern Virginia) to provide ordinances with reasonable criteria and requirements for the removal of snow and ice from public sidewalks. – Arlington County has enacted such an ordinance: • Requires removal of snow and ice within 24 to 36 hours of the cessation of the snow fall, depending on the depth of snow and ice. • Civil penalties ranging from $50 to $100.
  13. 13. County of Fairfax, Virginia Neighboring Jurisdictions • Arlington County (continued) • County also has the right to clear snow and recover abatement costs against owner or entity in charge of property. • Exceptions for handicapped individuals and those over the age of 65. • County manager can modify requirements or suspend enforcement. • Unclear whether citations have been issued. Department of Transportation 13
  14. 14. County of Fairfax, Virginia Options for Consideration 1. Continue with the current condition with enhancements: – Additional emphasis on voluntary action by civic groups, HOA’s and individual businesses. – Encourage formation of business improvement districts in commercial areas to undertake snow removal, among other activities. Department of Transportation 14
  15. 15. County of Fairfax, Virginia Options for Consideration (continued) 2. Fairfax County takes on the responsibility to clear sidewalks in select locations. – Locations to consider: • Ten Metrorail stations in the County (potentially within ¼ mile of station). • Urban Activity Centers. • Along major pedestrian routes. Department of Transportation 15
  16. 16. County of Fairfax, Virginia Options for Consideration (continued) 2. Fairfax County takes on the responsibility to clear sidewalks in select locations. (continued) – Issues to consider: • Do not want to discourage snow removal by residents and businesses in these select locations. • Areas not covered will continue under the voluntary system. • Cost (specific cost information still needs to be developed). Department of Transportation 16
  17. 17. County of Fairfax, Virginia Options for Consideration (continued) 3. Fairfax County could legally enact an ordinance requiring snow and ice removal from public sidewalks. – Ordinance must comply with state law. – Must include reasonable time frames for compliance. – Must include reasonable exceptions for handicapped, elderly and those physically incapable of meeting the criteria. – Civil penalty cannot exceed $100. Department of Transportation 17
  18. 18. County of Fairfax, Virginia Options for Consideration (continued) – Issues to consider: • Property owner liability following snow removal needs to be clarified. • How would an ordinance be enforced? Who would be responsible for enforcement? • Problem of selective enforcement. • Time constrained to issue citations. • How to ensure due process after citation? Time constrained. • Other circumstances (plowing after clearing sidewalk, snow piled on the sidewalk from driveways, roadways etc.) Department of Transportation 18
  19. 19. County of Fairfax, Virginia Options for Consideration (continued) • Issues to consider (continued): – Cost: County would be expected to meet the same standards for sidewalks adjacent to County owned facilities. – Ordinance could require residents and business owners to clear snow from VDOT facilities. Department of Transportation 19
  20. 20. County of Fairfax, Virginia Options for Consideration (continued) 4. Snow summit to explore these options and other ideas Department of Transportation 20 – FCDOT – VDOT – Business representatives – Civic groups
  21. 21. County of Fairfax, Virginia Department of Transportation Questions? 21

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