New Montgomery County bill helps pedestrians during snowstorms

Sometimes a plow will scoop snow off of a street only to leave it on a neighboring sidewalk – one of the reasons why a new Montgomery County bill aims to make it a little easier for pedestrians to get around.

The legislation is called the Shovel Our Sidewalks Act, and Councilmember Evan Glass plans to introduce it Tuesday, as was previously reported by WTOP.

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If passed, the bill would require the county to clear snow off of "orphan sidewalks," which is when they run along a major road but don’t have a homeowner or business owner that’s already responsible for it, and also for non-buffered sidewalks along 19 different arterial roads, including Connecticut Avenue, Old Georgetown Road, Wisconsin Avenue, and Georgia Avenue. A non-buffered sidewalk is when there’s no grass strip or other physical barrier separating the sidewalk from traffic.

The county does already clear-off about 60 miles of sidewalks, although not all of them. Also, Councilmember Glass said the sidewalks that don’t get the attention are oftentimes in equity access areas, where communities frequently have a higher percentage of people who rely on public transportation, and right now, they may be essential workers too.

"We have to make sure that our equity access areas, the people in those communities get the services that they need and demand as they put themselves on the frontline during this pandemic," Glass explained.

Glass added that he believes the bill will pass, although it’s not likely to happen until the spring.