As local leaders work to make Tysons more walkable, a big part of that push is going to involve keeping the sidewalks clear during snowstorms.
One day after the first snowstorm of 2019, Tysons seem to have mostly — but not entirely — met that goal.
While most of the roads are cleared by the Virginia Department of Transportation, Robin Geiger, head of communications for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, says private organizations and individuals around Tysons are entirely to credit for the clear sidewalks.
“Neither VDOT nor the county clears snow and ice from public walkways (sidewalks and most trails),” Geiger wrote. “While not legally obligated, residents and businesses are asked to help keep sidewalks safe, when possible, by clearing snow off the sidewalks in front of their property so that all pedestrians, especially school children, those with disabilities and the elderly, may walk securely.”
“Homeowner associations may require members of their communities to clear the private walkways abutting their property,” she added.
According to Geiger, the only sidewalks cleared by the county are those outside county-operated facilities, like police stations, fire stations, libraries and community centers.
By early afternoon yesterday (Monday), many of the sidewalks near Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria were mostly or entirely cleared of snow. Undaunted by the cold, there were also a fair number of people taking advantage of the snow day to shop at both malls and other surrounding businesses.
Many of the outlying streets, like Jones Branch Drive, also had sidewalks on at least one side of the road clear, with some of the streets near residential developments remaining snow-covered. For many of the sidewalks on the fringes of Tysons, even those with a path through the snow are still covered with ice.
Geiger said if sidewalks in front of private property are not cleared by the owners or other private entities, the job falls upon Mother Nature.
“Many businesses, [homeowners associations], and residents clear sidewalks, but they are not required to by county ordinance,” said Geiger. “Some sidewalks do not get cleared during snow events.”
In Fairfax City, Falls Church, Alexandria and Arlington, ordinances do require business owners and residents to clear their sidewalks.
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