Feb 16, 2010

2/15/10: A Message from Jen Terrasa, District 3 County Council re: Snow Cleanup Efforts

I wanted to take a few minutes to keep you up to date on the County’s efforts to clean up from the Blizzard of 2010. While a great deal of progress has been made, we know there is more left to do. Crews continue to work to open additional travel lanes and clear streets curb to curb wherever possible. A main area of focus continues to be intersections, where crews are working to improve visibility and sightlines, and much attention is now focused on making sure our sidewalks and bus stops are clear so that our children can get back to school. In addition, to prevent hazardous conditions as this new weather system passes through, crews are out salting the roads as well.

We also ask that you use caution as you travel throughout the county. As you know many of our roads are still narrower than normal and many of our sidewalks have not been plowed. This means that pedestrians and cars are sharing these narrower roads. Please drive carefully and be mindful of pedestrians. This will be especially important as our students head back to school later this week. Pedestrians are also asked to use caution especially when walking in the street. Walk on a sidewalk wherever possible and, if you have to walk in the street, stay on the left side of the street facing the oncoming traffic.

I know many of you are wondering about when the schools will re-open. At this point, schools will remain closed through Tuesday, and the hope is that schools will be able to re-open on Wednesday. The decision to open Wednesday will of course be reassessed tomorrow. One of the key factors in this decision will be the ability to get children to school safely. Digging out all of the bus stops in Howard County as well as the sidewalks is a monumental task. Please see below for a joint letter from County Executive Ulman and Howard County Public School System Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin for more information on what needs to happen for the schools to reopen and what you can do to help. Of particular interest to some of you out there is that middle and high school students may earn service-learning or national honor society credits for helping shovel sidewalks and clear bus stops. What a great way to help get our schools back open and promote civic responsibility, community involvement, and responsible citizenship!

The County has been urging residents help clear the area around fire hydrants that are covered with or obstructed by snow. A number of you have asked how to find those fire hydrants after they have been hidden from view for so many days. The good news is that the County has a unique online tool to help you locate a fire hydrant near your home:

I have attached a Snow Emergency Contact List again for your convenience. In addition, I have included a Joint Message from County Executive Ken Ulman and Superintendent Sydney Cousin from earlier this evening as well as the County Executive’s Snow Update from the evening of February 14th.

In the coming days, I will continue to work with the County Executive and his staff, as they help us address community needs and work toward getting life in Howard County back to normal. I need you to continue to keep me informed of the progress and problems in your neighborhood so that I can continue to follow up. Please feel free to contact me (jterrasa@howardcountymd.gov or at (410)313-4101).

Once again, thank you for your continued patience and cooperation as we clean up from the Blizzard of 2010, and try to get life back to normal as soon as possible.

All the best,

Snow Emergency Contact List

If you have an emergency, please call 911. Our plows are being coordinated with rescue workers to make sure that they will be able to reach you in case of emergency.
If you have a non-emergency but urgent situation during this storm, you can call the County Emergency Operations Center directly at (410) 313-2900.
If you have a gas leak, evacuate immediately and call BGE at (410)685-0123 or 1(800)685-0123.
If you have a power outage, please call BGE's power outage hotline at 1(877)778-2222, then call (410)313-2900 to report the outage to the Emergency Operations Center as well.
To report snowplow issues or plowing problems, please call the Emergency Operations Center at (410)313-2900.

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