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City Planners Look Back At This Winter's Massive Snowstorms

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By Patrick Madden

As city planners from around the region look back at this winter's devastating snow storms, they say next time jurisdictions need to coordinate and communicate better.

When a region used to mild winters is walloped by back-to-back blizzards its not surprising that problems arise: metro trains stop working, snow banks pile up and homes lose power. But as dozens of city planners and emergency planners met Monday to look at the lessons learned from "snowmaggedden," its clear the biggest challenge may be the number of different voices in the room.

John Berry is the director of the U.S Office of Personnel Management. He says he received approximately 300,000 emails about the regions performance during the snowstorms.

"What I heard from a number of federal employees was that they thought we could do better coordination between the the jurisdictions," says Berry.

Some examples: local governments would open in one place, but stay closed in another, some jurisdictions would tell people to stay at home, others would say go to a shelter, even the definition of a snow emergency declaration appeared to differ by state.

One official suggest a coordinated, regional messaging system, another proposed making the parking rules during a snow storm uniform throughout the area and creating a pool of heavy-duty vehicles that the region could share.

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