Avoid 14th (and U) if you Can


Thanks to Hoya Vey and Jaclyn Lippelmann for sending – Jaclyn writes:

“snow removal blocking off entire block at 14th & U – avoid 14th if you want to get anywhere this morning!”


56 Comment

  • I was stuck in that this morning. What genius thought snow removal during rush hour – a week after the storm – makes sense? Ridiculous.

    • Seriously. I mean, yay! Snow removal! Finally! But how do they figure rush hour on a main road is the right time for this?

      • Exactly. The first couple of days after the storm (Sunday and Monday) I thought, wow, DC has this under control. However, the past couple of days have completely destroyed any notion that DC has handled the clean-up competently (and sadly this is the DC I’ve come to know and expect – at least they were competent in issuing parking tickets).

  • They did the same idiotic thing on Connecticut Avenue during rush hour on Wednesday morning. Was it somehow impossible to do snow removal on the District’s busiest commuter routes in the middle of the day or overnight?

    • Actually, they are not doing it only during rush hour. I saw them blocking off Mass Ave. at 23rd St NW at 10 p.m. Wednesday evening with a line of about 5 dump trucks and two front-loaders.

      • In Mt.P a few nights ago I heard the bobcat vehicles and sound of “back up alarms” on trucks well past midnight. It wasn’t a huge deal, but did make a decent amount of constant noise

        • Just experienced that last night at 10th & O at 4:30am. Not sure why that particular intersection needed the crosswalks cleared in the middle of the night and not the equally bad ones at 10th and N and 10th & M. Is anyone coordinating the clean up effort or is it all just totally random? I will say that the bobcat operator did a great job, even shoveling the last bit by hand, so even if I question the timing, I do appreciate the hard work.

    • They were doing it on 13th Street in Columbia Heights at midnight last night. It seems from the comments they are removing snow around the clock.

  • yeah, they were doing this along Columbia Rd / Michigan Ave/Park etc. last night, at FREAKIN’ RUSH HOUR! The traffic mess this created was almost unbelievable. After being on my shuttle for longer than my entire commute usually takes, I gave up trying to get to the CoHi Metro and just walked home, in the street for a decent chunk because people are asshats and still haven’t shoveled their sidewalks. The whole thing was enraging.

    • Ah that’s why it was so backed up to get onto Michigan ave last night. Yeah not good timing doing that at 5pm.

  • I applaud the effort but there is no consideration during the morning or evening rush. I spent over an hour and a half the last two nights in my car to get from the Roosevelt bridge to Meridian Hill because of bobcats and dump trucks blocking lanes and causing bottlenecks. I took a vacation day today in hopes of yet avoiding another night of a 3 hour commute from Virginia. Hopefully this weekends weather will melt a lot of it away.

  • Is the snow removal really necessary at this point considering it’s going to be in the low 60s the next three days?

  • Tsar of Truxton

    Why doesn’t the city reinstate street sweeping parking restrictions for like two weeks after any storm. That would allow the city to clear the streets without having to work around cars. Things would be so much easier. People would not be able to “stake a claim” to parking spots for indefinite periods, etc. I assume they are doing major roads during rush hour due to rush hour parking restrictions.

    • Because you can’t ticket a lawn chair.

      • Haha! You win.

      • And part of the reason the city doesn’t do street sweeping during the winter is that the process involves water (or some kind of water spray) and is thus Not A Good Idea when the temperature is below freezing.

        • Read that one again. Nobody is proposing street sweeping in the winter… this is actually a pretty reasonable proposal here.

    • This is a great idea. You can tow lawn chairs easier than cars.

    • This is what cities like Minneapolis do. They have pretty extensive winter parking restrictions so plows can get to both sides of the street. It’s a pain moving your car but ultimately the entire street is plowed so everyone is better off in the long run.

  • This should have been done Tuesday morning at the latest. I have a feeling DPW/Bowser is feeling the heat about not doing anything to sidewalks and they’ve decided to do things late (of course) and when it’s least effective (of course) and causes the most pain (of course)

  • Okay going by foot, I assume?

    • I was about to ask the same thing actually. I don’t know anyone who drives to work through there, but a lot of people who might walk it.

  • people, it’s pretty easy. Ride a bicycle!

    • Snark aside, biking was the quickest, safest way to get around town after the snow. Half plowed lanes on major streets = new bike lanes! Not having to mound over snow piles or worry about slipping on ice while walking = safer!

      • maxwell smart

        Did you find roads in the morning were safe for road bikes? I’ve been concerned about biking down Connecticut in the morning and hitting ice patches and/or having to block the 1 lane open for driving.

      • maxwell smart

        Looking for recommendations for winter biking gear. Suggestions?

        • Check out some climbing gear at REI (think close-fitting soft-shell pants and jacket, fleece layers).

        • Biggest thing for me is just avoid cotton; get that dry-fit material. It rarely gets so cold here that you need to dress as if you’re going skiing, but generally decent pair of gloves (I rock leather gloves I would at a mountain) and a hat should do. No need to invest in crazy bike gear unless putting in serious miles.

          • maxwell smart

            “It rarely gets so cold here that you need to dress as if you’re going skiing” – speak for yourself! I grew up on the West Coast. It’s COLD here.

    • Second this. Nobody who lives and works in the city should be driving. Take metro, bus, bike, or walk. Biking has been super easy.

  • maxwell smart

    What jackass thought this was a good idea??

  • I was really impressed by how clear the sidewalks and more importantly the crosswalks were in Clarendon last night. It looked like a completely different storm had hit there.

    • Clarenden – Come for the views, stay for the sidewalks.

    • Part of this is efficiency, but a big part is that it’s simply easier to plow suburban areas. In DC there’s nowhere to put the snow which presents a whole series of challenges. On the other hand, in DC you don’t have to drive so for people who actually live here it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

  • Passed about 40 dump trucks with front loaders etc at the ready on MacArthur and Arizona this morning. Seems like a city wide effort, just hope they conclude by p.m. rush hour.

  • They were doing this at NH and Quincy at about 7 am this morning. I applaud the effort, but the reality was that they were making an enormous (like 10 ft) mound of snow directly in front of the crosswalk at the intersection. Given the number of pedestrians who risk their lives to cross NH at that spot every day to get to the metro it seemed like a terrible idea to further reduce visibility. Then again, drivers almost never stop for pedestrians there so I suppose not being able to see them coming won’t actually have much of an effect one way or another.

  • Why haven’t they gotten rid of the snow yet?
    Why are they getting rid of the snow in a manner than inconveniences me?
    Some of you are just never happy.

    • The purpose of cleaning snow off the streets is to make traveling those streets easier. Closing down 14th during rush hour does not make traveling easier during the Friday rush. And since it would melt over the weekend anyways, it’s not helping then either.

      • And now, after a short period of inconvenience, traveling those streets is easier. Those 5 foot high snow mounds weren’t going to disappear this weekend.
        Of course we’d all like to have the snow whisked quietly away the day after the storm between the hours of 2 and 4 am, but that’s not possible. Clearing two feet of snow from 2500 miles of roads is going to be inconvenient. Getting angry about that serves no purpose except to raise your blood pressure. Take a deep breath and move on with your day, and I promise you’ll feel better.

        • It wasn’t just a few minutes of inconvenience. They’re still there, so it’s not yet easier to travel. It will be easier this afternoon and night, then their work will be negated since it would just melt anyways. But I’m supposed to be cool with wasting my tax dollars for no use, right? Just breathe and throw money out the window.

          • No, you’re supposed to be a rational human being who understands that removing this much snow will inconvenience some people for a few minutes. But I do appreciate you taking my original Popville response to the next level. I can now amend my original post to:
            Why haven’t they gotten rid of the snow yet?
            Why are they getting rid of the snow in a manner than inconveniences me?
            Why are they getting rid of the snow?
            Some of you are just never happy.

          • I am rational. It snowed A WEEK AGO. If it was still there at 7 am, waiting until 10 am wouldn’t hurt anybody.

          • west_egg

            jcm, if you’ve been watching the news the past couple of nights, you’d know to replace “a few minutes” with “a few hours.” No, I’m not exaggerating.
            Yes, there’s a lot of snow to remove. I’m not sure why they can’t plan a little better and save major thoroughfares like 14th, Connecticut, Wisconsin, etc. etc. for off-peak. Concentrate on more residential streets during rush hour. I’d think that would actually help the snow removal efforts by getting all those cars out of the way faster.

    • on the mark right here

  • Sat on the circulator just north of 14th and U for a good half an hour. Finally the cops reopened 14th around 9. I’m all caught up on the express.

  • What has made me laugh the most is that, until yesterday, the parking lane along the northbound side between 14th and U St. and 14th and (V? W?) was still completely snowed in because it was never plowed…. but the only cars I had seen parked in that lane that remained there throughout the storm were DC GOVERNMENT VEHICLES! -_-

  • it took me 1 1/2hr to down constitution last night- because they decide to do snow removal at 15th street during rush hour. Complete insanity.

  • This is a great post to prove the point that the city absolutely cannot win because citizens are unbelievably irrational. In this thread we have people complaining about snow removal in the morning rush hour, snow removal in the evening rush hour, snow removal in the evening after rush hour (trucks are so loud), and snow removal in the morning before rush hour. There’s apparently only consensus for snow removal between like 10:30 am and 4 pm. People, get a grip and think about it: if the city only has six hours a day to remove snow we’re going to have much worse traffic problems than if they block your preferred route downtown one day of the week and you have to drive allllll the way over to 16th street and are 8 minutes late.

    • west_egg

      My suggestion would be a compromise: keep snow removal going around the clock, but focus on residential areas only during the hours of, say, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. so that people can drive on the main arterials (and make more room for the snow plows!).

  • Dump trucks and front loaders completely shut down Rhode Island Ave outbound last night, from 2nd to 1st Street at 5 pm. To clear sidewalks in Bloomingdale? I have no idea what the goal was, but it caused insane rush hour backups. No warning, no alternative routes posted anywhere. By the time I got near, I’d already sat in traffic for more than 30 minutes (to go about 1/3 mile).

    Not impressed.

  • To all those who are complaining here. Please put yourself in the shoes of the truck operators. There were 700 operators probably pulling very long shifts during and after the storm. And also remember this is more snow than the snow DC receives in an average year.

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