As Montgomery County residents dig out from under one storm and prepare for another wintry blast predicted for this weekend, County Council and School Board leaders joined together in a plea to residents to clear their sidewalks of ice and snow.
"This is your tool," said Council President Michael Subin, brandishing a snow shovel. "Use it to protect our children, many of whom are having to walk to school on busy streets because of icy and snowy sidewalks."
"I urge Montgomery County residents to keep their sidewalks clear – and pitch in to help their neighbors who may not be able to do it on their own."
In most of Montgomery County, only commercial establishments and multi-family properties are required by law to clear their sidewalks of ice and snow within 24 hours. Some municipalities within the County, including Takoma Park, Poolesville, Rockville, Kensington, and Chevy Chase Village, do require all residents and businesses to clear their sidewalks.
"We have school children at Argyle Middle School in Silver Spring who are walking on Bel Pre Road, a busy street even under the best of conditions," said School Board President Patricia O’Neill. "It’s a very dangerous situation."
"We are appealing to the better angels of people’s natures," said Councilmember Phil Andrews. "It’s important we do this not only for our children, but also for our seniors and for folks who are disabled."
School Board member Nancy King noted that about 56,000 of the County’s 131,000 students walk to school.
"Particularly in our older neighborhoods and the down county, we’ve got a real problem," said Ms. King.
Council President Subin stated that he would bring up the issue of whether future County-wide legislation might be appropriate in consultation with the County Executive, the School Board and the police.