Weather forecasters are not predicting the severe snowstorms the D.C. region experienced last winter, but Alexandria officials are putting together a new plan of attack.
A new system is being put in place that will categorize the severity of each snowstorm and how the city and its residents should respond, said Yon Lambert, deputy director of operations for Alexandria's transportation and environmental services.
About 90 percent of the city's snowstorms will be a Level 1, or up to 8 inches, Lambert said. City resources will be used to make roads first passable for emergency vehicles and significantly cleared for all vehicles within three days. Sidewalks would have to be cleared within 24 hours or the city could fine the property owner.
A Level 2 storm would take city staff more time to clear roadways and outside resources might be needed. Sidewalks would have to be clear within 48 hours of the last snowfall.
In a Level 3 storm, like the ones the region saw in February, "All bets are off. These are natural disasters that will outstrip city resources," Lambert said. Sidewalks would have to be clear within 72 hours and roadways would only be open to emergency vehicles.
Another proposal would allow taxi drivers to add a $5 surcharge per trip once the city manager has declared a snow emergency.
The City Council also is considering reducing the number of snow emergency routes from 28 streets down to eight, which include long stretches of King, Washington and Duke streets.
"A lot of lessons were learned [last winter] and we are in the process of reacting," said Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille.
The proposed sidewalk snow removal regulations, taxi snow surcharge and emergency plans and routes will be the subject of public hearings Saturday. More information can be found here.