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Arlington launches live map for reporting snow scofflaws

December 15, 2010 - 10:08 AM
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Snow Removal
Arlington is trying to get organized on snow removal after last year's blizzards. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Arlington may be behind the curve when it comes to a live-updated snow plowing map, but it did try to make up for it Tuesday by launching a pretty high tech way to turn in neighbors who haven't cleared their sidewalks.

Enter the county's new "Report a Snow Issue" map, which allows residents to enter a specific address where sidewalks have not been cleared, roads haven't been plowed or need additional plowing, or streets are icy.

Snow Removal Reporting
A screen shot of Arlington's new snow removal reporting map.

It's part of the county's larger effort to enforce a snow removal ordinance for the first time; after last winter's blizzards, Arlington passed a sidewalk-clearing requirement in June. The law carries fines from $50 to $100 for failure to clear sidewalks in front of one's property or business.

The map is a neat tool, no doubt. But we're wondering if the county really knows what it's in for here. With Arlington residents' penchant for participation, we're thinking that map could get full pretty quickly if there's a big snowfall this year.

And will the county really be able to respond to each request? Likely not. County manager Barbara Donnellan acknowledges that the actual plowing priorities, as outlined on this street clearing map [PDF], will remain the same, with highest trafficked areas marked in red being cleared first, those in blue being cleared after that, and so forth. (The ones not marked with any color? Those aren't necessarily plowed at all, as this reporter learned during the December 2009 blizzard.)

A similar prioritization will be applied to sidewalk enforcement this year, Donnellan adds. For the first year of enforcement, the county will focus on the busiest pedestrian areas.

And if you're thinking of reporting that one guy on the street you're always fighting with just to see him fined, don't hold your breath. The county's enforcers will be issuing warnings the first time around.

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  1. Guliel Guliel

    Billy Madison

    Dec 15, 2010 - 11:14:13 AM

    That's typical of Arlington, they can't provide a high tech tool to help people, but they give people a way to snitch on their neighbors. Why not provide a way for people that are sick or injured, and unable to shovel a way to ask their neighbors for help?

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  2. Laine Laine

    Elaine Clisham

    Dec 15, 2010 - 10:25:39 AM

    MAN, this is a great idea! Could Gabe Klein make this happen in DC before he leaves, please?

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