Gaithersburg Info On Winter Weather
As Gaithersburg Public Works and Parks Maintenance crews get ready for the winter season, the city wants to ensure that residents are informed and prepared in the event of a winter storm. To provide the most efficient services and to reduce potential safety hazards, residents are urged to adhere to the city’s snow removal policies and guidelines, to make necessary preparations and to follow safety precautions.
Gaithersburg communicates facility and program status and closing information on its website, www.gaithersburgmd.gov, and Cable TV channel, Comcast Channel 13, RCN Channel 13 and Verizon FiOS Channel 25. Emergency information is also communicated via the City’s alert messaging system, Alert Gaithersburg.
The Public Works Department keeps more than 85 miles of city streets passable by applying salt and abrasives when snow begins to stick to the road surface, or whenever other types of precipitation may cause slippery conditions. It takes two to four hours to treat all city streets.
Plowing operations begin after snow accumulates two inches on the roadway, with crews working around the clock until all city streets are cleared. It takes 65 people using 40 pieces of equipment about seven to eight hours to make one plowing pass on all of the city’s streets. Depending on the length of storm and rate of snowfall, most streets will be plowed several times during a storm, and one final time afterwards.
It is very important that crews are able to clear streets from curb to curb or shoulder to shoulder. This allows for optimum traffic flow, keeps storm drains clear and provides space for crews to operate during heavy snows or in the event that a second storm moves in quickly. It also allows for curbside parking after the storm. Residents with off-street parking should use it so crews can plow streets more effectively and cars won’t be plowed in, splashed by salt or spray or hit by other vehicles. Residents who must park on the street should obey No Parking signs, park close to the curb, and avoid parking on cul-de-sacs or at the end of dead-end streets.
When a Snow Emergency has been declared, all vehicles must be removed from Snow Emergency Routes. Vehicles parked in violation may be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense. Additionally, some streets that are not designated as Snow Emergency Routes have parking restrictions that prohibit parking on one side of the street during snow emergencies. It is illegal to park on the posted side of the street during a snow emergency, and vehicles may be ticketed or towed.
The city plows public streets only. Private streets, mews, alleys, driveways, parking lots, head-in parking spaces, and entrance ways are the responsibility of the property owner. Residents and business owners are also required to remove snow and ice from the public sidewalks abutting their property within 12 hours of the last precipitation. When possible, wait until the snow removal crews have cleared the roadways to avoid continuous clearings. Also, do not clear the unavoidable windrow, the continuous mound of snow that is created along the right side of the snow plow, before the plow’s final pass, and avoid shoveling snow back into cleared streets to prevent unnecessary melting and refreezing conditions.
Fire hydrants in yards or on public right-of-ways should be marked and cleared of snow so rescue personnel can access the hydrants quickly in the event of an emergency. Home addresses should be visible and cleared of snow or written in large print on paper placed on the front door. Residents should also check on neighbors, especially the elderly and home bound, and not allow children to play in snow close to roads.
Snow and ice produce dangerous driving conditions. The city urges residents to plan ahead and travel to where they need to be before the weather gets bad to avoid accidents, getting stuck, car damage, and blocking traffic or snow removal equipment. By staying off the roads, snow removal crews can do their jobs more effectively and public safety officials can better respond to emergencies.
Residents who must drive are asked to make proper preparations including equipping vehicles with snow tires or chains and having supplies to cope with weather-related driving situations. Also, snow or frost should be completely cleared off of windshields, windows, headlights, and taillights for optimum visibility. Vehicles should yield to plow and salt trucks, giving them plenty of room to operate.
The jurisdictions of the National Capital Region, including Gaithersburg, communicate emergency information at www.CapitalRegionUpdates.gov. Through this online resource, residents can stay connected to local news from throughout the region, localized weather from the National Weather Service, traffic and transit alerts, tips on how to prepare for emergencies and much more. Residents are also encouraged to subscribe to the city’s emergency notification system, Alert Gaithersburg. Alert Gaithersburg immediately contacts subscribers during an emergency, delivering alerts, notifications and updates to several electronic devices simultaneously. Alert messages also scroll on the City’s Cable TV station and are automatically pushed to the City’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gaithersburgmd.gov and the City’s Alert Gaithersburg Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/AlertGburg.
For more information on winter weather preparations and safety tips, visit www.ready.gov/winter-weather.
For more information on the City’s snow removal policies, contact the Neighborhood Services Division at 301-258-6340 or email@example.com. For general snow removal information, contact the Public Works Department at 301-258-6370 or visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov/snow.