- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Snow removal from a rooftop parking garage at the Shady Grove Metro station in Montgomery County will be handled by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in the future, agency officials said yesterday.

“Regardless of who has any kind of contractual responsibility, from here on out we will be taking care of snow removal,” said Lisa Farbstein, a WMATA spokeswoman.

Commuters complained that as late as Tuesday about 300 rooftop spaces at the Metro station remained covered in snow, ice and slush from a winter storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in some parts of the county over the weekend.

There is a possibility of snow Sunday and Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Miss Farbstein said the transit authority will be there, if necessary, to clean up.

As reported by The Washington Times yesterday, there was some confusion about whether the county or WMATA was responsible for clearing the snow from the garage following last weekend’s storm.

“There is still contractual ambiguity about who was supposed to clear the snow from the garage,” Miss Farbstein said.

The $27.4 million, seven-story parking garage was built by the county and formally opened May 5, but the authority for operation and maintenance was transferred to WMATA last week, after construction details and operations were confirmed as satisfactory.

Montgomery County officials said the 2,140-space parking garage essentially is still under warranty. For one year, the county is responsible for fixing any infrastructure problems, such as electrical system failures. But WMATA is responsible for snow removal, which comes under the heading of routine maintenance.

County officials said they clarified that point during a telephone call to WMATA officials on Tuesday.

“We have decided that from now on we are just going to plow and de-ice if necessary because truly these are our own customers who are using Metro rail and we just want to get the snow issue behind us,” Miss Farbstein said.

Many commuters became irritated after slipping and sliding while driving up an icy ramp to the roof lot only to discover that parking lines could not be seen because the snow had not been scraped away.

In response to inquiries by The Times, county officials said they sent snow-removal crews out Monday afternoon to clear the roof, but the next day insisted that snow removal at a Metro station is not a county responsibility.

Albert J. Genetti, director of the Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation, was informed that WMATA has accepted responsibility for clearing snow from the garage, but he said it will still be added to the county’s list of places to be plowed after a storm.

“In the future, we will probably have it covered twice, at least until it’s transferred,” he said.

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