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EMA Designated Lead Agency for Snow Removal

Tuesday, October 31, 2000

(Washington, DC) Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Deputy Mayor/City Administrator John A. Koskinen today unveiled the District's 2000/2001 snow removal plan and announced that the District of Columbia Emergency Management Agency (DCEMA) will serve as lead agency for the city's 2000/2001 snow removal effort. DCEMA Director Peter G. LaPorte will serve as snow coordinator and will direct deployment of city resources during snow events. Mr. Koskinen said Mr. LaPorte's appointment is intended to improve service by providing a coordinated multi-agency approach to snow removal. The Department of Public Works, under the leadership of Interim Director Leslie Hotaling, will continue to play a key role in snow events.

Mr. Koskinen said, "As director of the city's Emergency Management Agency, Mr. LaPorte is responsible for making certain that city-wide resources are deployed in the most efficient and effective manner in response to emergency situations. In addition, he has coordinated the city's preparation for Y2K, the IMF/World Bank meeting, and other critical events. He will bring that same kind of oversight to snow removal."

Key components of the 2000/2001 snow removal plan include:

  • New equipment - Of 127 heavy plows, 60 are new. The light plow residential program has 39 new snow-ready vehicles. All the new equipment is equipped with Ice Ban de-icer. The new heavy plows will help improve clearing major roads on the first response "Red" and "Blue" routes. They will also allow us to follow contract plows with salt spreaders.
  • Improved clearing of residential streets - The 39 new light plows will allow us to add 31 new residential routes, including streets which are unusually steep, shaded, or narrow, as well as those scheduled for solid waste pick-up and Metro bus service.
  • Use of contractors - Training and quality control have been enhanced for contract plow operations. Contractors are deployed to augment DC plows on the Red and Blue routes when a more-than-four-inch snowfall is forecast. In addition, as part of our primary response, a separate set of "major" contractors is deployed to take total responsibility for eight major highways and bridges: South Capitol Street, Suitland Parkway, Pennsylvania Avenue (from the Capitol to Southern Avenue), I-395 and 295, Canal Road and Loughboro Road.
  • Training - We will conduct a single training session for all drivers and other personnel involved in snow removal. The goal is to promote a coordinated response by all city personnel involved in snow removal. A separate driving skills session also will be conducted.
  • Changes in personnel deployment - This year, as part of the effort to insure trash collection during snow events, 60 solid waste drivers will be held in reserve to collect solid waste once streets are clear. Historically, personnel whose normal duty assignment is trash collection have been deployed to remove snow.
  • Quality assurance - Neighborhood quality assurance workers will be deployed to help insure that snow is cleared effectively and equitably.
  • Parking enforcement - Cars parked on snow emergency routes during a declared snow emergency will be towed and $250 tickets issued.

With the enhanced equipment, training, deployment, and quality control, the District is in a better posture to meet the challenge of the snow season and keep our streets clear, trash collected, and bus service operating. The District's new snow-readiness plan is part of Mayor Williams' scorecard commitment to make government work for all District residents.