Dear DDOT — Let’s Rally and Plow, Plow Plow!

Dear District Department of Transportation:

I know we’ve been giving you a hard time recently. But don’t take it out on all of our lovely city. See here for corresponding photos.

First, it was the nighttime commute this past Wednesday. What an embarrassment. (But don’t worry, you were in good company with all surrounding jurisdictions.) Approximately an inch of snow, but no sand, no salt, and nary a plow.

Come Friday night, things weren’t looking so hot, either. No plows downtown. Though business owners did a good job cleaning their sidewalks. And motorists mostly kept off the roads. Later Friday night, we did spot some plows — huzzah — and cheered them on, plus the police, of course. They were out in decent force.

We had a pleasant commute home, thanks to one of the last Metrorail trains before the entire system was single tracked in preparation for the 11 p.m. closing. Which, by the way, we do not support. Why not keep it running like during most blizzards?

Yes, we know the safety reasons — in case of power outages — and the desire to store the Metros themselves all nice and warm and not exposed to the elements. But if you run them underground, you don’t need to store them, and they’re protected.

Lo and behold, come today, DDOT was on the plowing case. Aggressively. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the streets. Major streets were decent, as were many side streets. Plenty of plows spotted, and small ones, too. Emergency snow routes were great.

We shared this knowledge with all we came upon. They generally agreed that DDOT’s response was better than in other storms, and that it exceeded their expectations. All prior criticism of DDOT melted away (pun intended). Perhaps they were not only up to the job, but able to impress.

Our encouragement withered tonight. DDOT, it seems, had reverted to old ways.

Streets were universally a sight — not to behold. At least two emergency snow routes were in terrible shape. Other streets were even worse. Not a single plow plowing was spotted, and only one plow was seen. Passerby generally agreed with our assessment. We were told that cops were upset about this, because they could not safely navigate the poorly-plowed streets. Despite what the mayor said.

As one passerby remarked, plowing is a 24-hour-a-day business. Not 9–5.

So, DDOT, prove us wrong. Rally your troops (and plows). Save our streets!

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