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Rethinking Montgomery County’s Snow Removal Process

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By law, snow needs to be shoveled from sidewalks within 24 hours, but that doesn't always happen.
Dean Shareski: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shareski/3121983972
By law, snow needs to be shoveled from sidewalks within 24 hours, but that doesn't always happen.

With snow finally done falling in our region — knock on wood — Montgomery County is looking at how it can remove it better by next winter.

Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer has introduced a bill that would overhaul the county's snow removal process. First on his list is an online map that will aid residents with their complaints about uncleared sidewalks. County law mandates those walks be shoveled 24 hours hour after the snow has stopped falling — a law that was not followed after many of this winter's storms.

"I would like to have a map so that we can look and say 'Hey that is park property. That sidewalk is the responsibility of the parks department. Or that piece of property belongs to the gas station that's 25-feet away,'" Riemer says.

Riemer's bill will also look at stronger enforcement of the clearing law, which will likely be the toughest issue to reach a consensus on. And it's not because of money.

"If you're 75 years old, you can't clear the sidewalk by yourself," he says. "That's actually a dangerous activity for you to do. And it doesn't make sense for the county to come along and fine you $200 every time there's a snow event."

Public hearings and committee sessions on the bill have yet to be scheduled, but something should be passed by the time snow falls again, provided yet another freak storm doesn't arrive next week.

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