- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the District will lift its snow emergency at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, as crews transition from plowing streets to removing snow piled along major thoroughfares.

City crews are tackling the hardest-to-reach streets, but the effort soon will focus on removing snow banks caused by plowing, Ms. Bowser said at a news conference Tuesday.

As schools reopen Wednesday, she said, residents and businesses must make sure sidewalks are cleared for students. However, the District will not issue tickets to residents who don’t clear their sidewalks, the mayor said.

A new D.C. law requires property owners to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, handicap ramps and steps abutting their property within the first eight daylight hours after snow, sleet or ice stops falling or forming. Those who don’t clear walkways are subject to a $25 fine, plus the cost of removing the snow or ice.

The city government will not be as lenient to businesses. Under current law, those that don’t clear snow from sidewalks within 24 hours after a storm will be fined $150.

As much as 29 inches of snow blanketed the greater Washington metropolitan area over the weekend, bringing much of the region to a standstill. Officials reported at least 45 snow-related deaths throughout the East Coast, many attributed to cardiac arrest while shoveling snow. One snow-related death in the District, three in Maryland and nine in Virginia were reported.

In Baltimore, where the winter storm dumped more than 2 feet of snow, residents scrambled to free their cars Tuesday in order to make it to work. But with many side streets still unplowed, residents were anxious about their chances of getting to the office on time, if at all.

Baltimore officials said 90 percent of main roads have been cleared, but many side streets have yet to be plowed, trapping residents who parked their cars there before the storm hit Friday night.

Meanwhile, Maryland Emergency Management Agency officials expressed confidence in being able to secure federal disaster aid for local governments hit hard by snowstorm expenses.

Executive Director Russell Strickland said Tuesday that overall costs statewide easily will exceed the $8.1 million threshold for a disaster declaration.

With the District likely to spend most, if not all of its $6.2 million snow-removal budget, Ms. Bowser already has requested federal disaster assistance.

On Tuesday, the mayor said she has been all across the city and most residents with whom she has spoken have been happy with the city government’s response to the storm, though she has heard from some frustrated Washingtonians.

“We’re still recovering from a blizzard,” she said. “If you’re still trying to get off your block you’re going to have frustrations. We’re working hard to get to you.”

Metro’s subway system is operating on a modified weekday service, with trains running every 12 minutes except on the Orange Line between Vienna and Ballston and the Silver Line. Metro buses are running on a severe snow service plan, meaning service is limited to major corridors.

⦁ This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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