Reston Association Clarifies Snow Removal Policies

As a new wave of snow accumulation is set to fall on Reston and the surrounding areas, Reston Association is clarifying its policies regarding snow removal.

In preparation for potential snow accumulation, the Reston Association (RA) issued a press release noting that “the responsibility for snow removal in Reston is shared” among Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), RA, cluster associations, individual residents and businesses.

Some RA members said they were alarmed that pathways were not cleared earlier this month.

In a letter to RA, Steven Graul, a Reston resident, wrote that Lake Anne Plaza was ‘caked thick with ice’ and remained ‘impassable and dangerous’ for more than a week.

‘It’s simply unacceptable for RA to be excusing their lack of resources for the failure on this issue. This needs to be a community priority and take precedent over other wasteful programs, which provide little or no community benefit, except perhaps to sustain the size and cost of the RA machine itself,’ he wrote.

RA is responsible for plowing snowfall on the 55 miles of pathways it owns and maintains and the access areas to village centers. Members of RA’s Central Services Facilities (CSF) will plow the pathways when snowfall reaches over two inches, according to the association’s site.

Mike McNamara, the Director of Maintenance for RA, will ultimately make the call whether or not to plow the pathways after conferring with CSF crew and mechanics.

On Feb. 3, RA turned to Twitter to explain why snowfall was not cleared from pathways. RA stated that due to a lack of snow, CSF crews could not utilize snowplows because it would risk damaging the pathways and plows. RA did state that hand crews were dispatched to clear snow.

In addition to four plows that can be used, RA’s site advises it has CSF members “to clear walkways, stairs and certain smaller pathways around community buildings and other high traffic areas in the community.”

The association’s site says that each of the four runs of pathways takes between four and five hours to clear.

While RA’s policies are to clear paths as possible, it does not guarantee that pathways will be completely clear after each storm. This is a result of changing temperatures, and hilly areas and heavily shaded locations that are vulnerable to refreezing. Hand crews and other personnel will inspect each area after a storm to address pathways as needed, according to RA.

RA also encouraged residents in its press release to shovel sidewalks and other pedestrian walkways. The association also advised that clusters could hire private contractors to remove snow from parking lots as well as other common areas.

Though RA doesn’t maintain roadway sidewalks, it will work to provide access to schools as much as possible through its pathways.

To report a dangerous section of pathway to RA, members may call the CSF’s main number 703-437-7658 or email [email protected]

VDOT is responsible for clearing snow from all state-maintained roads. VDOT’s road-clearing priority roads include interstates and most primary roads, snow emergency routes and heavily trafficked roads, and other residential roads. The department also offers a virtual map that residents may check to gauge the plowing status of their neighborhoods.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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