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Press Releases - County Council

Shovel Our Sidewalks Act Introduction to Increase Pedestrian Safety

For Immediate Release: Monday, February 22, 2021

ROCKVILLE, Md., February 22, 2021 — On Tuesday, Councilmember Evan Glass will introduce the Shovel Our Sidewalks Act, legislation to require the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to clear snow from sidewalks in the county’s “equity areas” where narrow sidewalks have significant pedestrian traffic. During heavy winter storms, many individuals in these communities walk to bus stops on sidewalks which are covered in piles of snow, pushed by passing snow plows, making it unsafe for pedestrians.

Sidewalks covered in snow piles often remain obstructed for several days as it slowly melts. On sidewalks directly next to the roadway, which are commonplace in older and denser areas of the county, piles of snow create a significant safety issue because they force pedestrians to walk in the road, which is extremely hazardous on busier arterial roads such as University Boulevard, Georgia Avenue, and Rockville Pike.

“By taking a more active role in sidewalk snow removal, we will increase pedestrian safety and take one step closer to achieving our Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities by 2030,” Councilmember Evan Glass said. “This legislation will also ensure that our equity emphasis areas -- lower-income communities with a greater percentage of people of color -- receive fair attention during snow emergencies.”

In 2020, there were 18 pedestrian and cyclist deaths and 501 non-fatal incidents in the county.  As part of ongoing efforts to address pedestrian and street safety, Councilmember Glass recently hosted a virtual Vision Zero conference that was attended by hundreds of residents advocating for safer streets.  In the first two months of 2021, Montgomery County has already experienced four winter weather events that impacted pedestrians’ ability to safely walk on sidewalks and access bus stops. The Shovel Our Sidewalks Act is one of the many recommendations for improving safety to emerge from the conference. 

 

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Release ID: 21-062
Media Contact: Valeria Carranza 240-777-6198