Newsletter: Cleaning Up from Snowzilla and Getting Back to (Legislative) Business

The District's efforts to clean up and recover from Jonas continue. I appreciate your patience as our crews work to clear your streets. Below is an update on our progress. Feel free to share with me your thoughts and concerns. I've also included a brief legislative update and preview, because we'll be back to the Council's regular business tomorrow.

Thanks so much for helping shovel and staying off the streets so our plows can clear the snow. Big thanks as well to our DPW, DDOT, and HSEMA workers, as well as the dedicated team from the Mayor's Office of Community Relations.

 

 SCHOOL AND GOVERNMENT CLOSURES

  • DC Public Schools will be closed Tuesday and open Wednesday per Mayor Bowser. Breakfast and lunch will be available at 10 schools throughout the city on Tuesday from 10 am to 2 pm: Ballou, HD Woodson, Anacostia, Eastern, McKinley, Brookland, Cardozo, Coolidge, Columbia  Heights Education Campus, and Jefferson.
  • DC Government will open on time Tuesday. 
  • The Department of General Services is working on the cleanup of schools, recreation centers, and other city-owned properties. They report having cleared 80 percent of schools at 5 pm. If you see uncleared sidewalks outside DC properties, please call in to 311 and alert me as well.

 SNOW EMERGENCY STILL IN EFFECT

  • There is no parking on snow emergency routes until the mayor lifts the snow emergency, which likely won't occur until Wednesday. If your car is parked, stuck, or abandoned on a snow emergency route, you will be fined $250 and towed.
  • Please walk on the sidewalk and not in the street. Our plow drivers cannot always see you in the street, and it is a public safety hazard.
  • By DC law you already should have shoveled the sidewalk in front of your home, and please help shovel for neighbors who may not be able to shovel themselves. Our shoveling law applies to businesses too, and the mayor has implored businesses to clear their walks as well. Also please shovel out hydrants, and if you live near an intersection, help shovel out a curb cut so pedestrians can safely cross. We asked the City Administrator this morning for help cutting into the snow mounds at major intersections so pedestrians can safely cross the street.

SNOW PLOWING AND TRASH COLLECTION

  • The District's 4,400 miles of roadway have been divided into 14 snow plowing zones. The first priority of every zone has been to make major thoroughfares passable. This has occurred, and now we are attacking the residential streets. DC workers are on 12-hour shifts, and contract workers have been brought in as well. Some residential streets are now passable, and others are not. The goal is to get to passable in residential areas as soon as possible.
  • If you have not seen a plow yet, please let me know immediately at esilverman@dccouncil.us. I will be in touch with the mayor's office. If you have seen a plow but your street is not passable, the goal is to get to passable conditions in the next 24 hours. 
  • Trash and recycling collection will be suspended through Wednesday so we can focus on getting roads cleared and safe. I ask that you keep trash and recycling either inside your home or in Supercan containers.  

METRORAIL AND METROBUS STATUS

  • Metrorail has opened all DC stations, except for Benning Road, as of 3pm, and will run trains until midnight tonight. Orange will run from New Carrollton to Ballston; Blue will run between Largo Town Center and Huntington; Red will run between Glenmont and Medical Center; Green will run between Fort Totten and Branch Avenue; Yellow will run from Mt. Vernon Square to Huntington. There will be no charge to ride.
  • Metrorail will open at 5 am tomorrow, with service on all lines except for the Silver line, where 5 Virginia stations are expected to remain closed. Regular fares and parking rates will be back in effect.
  • Metrobus will begin service Tuesday on a severe weather plan, with limited service on 79 regional routes. You can find the routes at www.wmata.com.

 WHAT TO DO IF...

  • Your street has not been plowed: Check the live snow plow tracker at http://snowmap.dc.gov/. Resources have been shifted Monday toward secondary and residential streets. Let me know by email if your street has not seen any plowing. Given the volume of phone calls and emails the ward reps from the mayor's office are receiving, I will compile lists of neighborhoods and streets to give to them. Gives me something to do!
  • Your car gets towed: Call 202-541-6083 for help finding it.
  • You experience a power outage: Call Pepco's 24-Hour Outage Report Line at 1-877-737-2662. For downed wires, call Pepco immediately at 877-737-2662 and press 2.
  • You have fallen trees or excessive debris: Call the Mayor's Citywide Call Center at 311 or report it online here.

LEGISLATIVE WORK

With the storm clean up continuing, we’re beginning to turn our attention back to regular Council business. Here are a few highlights:

MAKING SUMMER YOUTH EMPLOYMENT WORK FOR ALL: Strengthening our jobs programs and our workforce development pipeline remains a top priority for me. I am most concerned about approximately 7,100 DC young adults aged 18 to 24 who are not in school and not working. We need to get them into both educational and work opportunities that will lead to living wage careers. A few of these young people testified that our Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) was the only opportunity they had to find work; I will be working to make sure we move as many of these young people into year-round employment programs as possible.

I also want to make sure that our young adults in SYEP get paid the minimum wage, which is $10.50 right now but will rise to $11.50 on July 1. D.C. government was previously paying only $9.25 an hour, which is less for these young adults than what we require of private sector employers. Last Wednesday, I introduced the SYEP Wages Amendment to begin by making sure that participants who are in the new 22-24 year old group of the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program are paid at least D.C.’s minimum wage. Thank you to Committee Chairman Vincent Orange and my committee colleagues, Councilmembers Charles Allen, Brianne Nadeau, and Brandon Todd for their unanimous support of this effort to strengthen our city’s workforce programs.

You can read my statement about the amendment on my website.

FEBRUARY PREVIEW: PAID FAMILY LEAVE

I have been at community events throughout the District talking about our universal paid leave bill, including to residents in Ward 8 at the MLK Day parade. After the parade, we received an email from Kesha, who shared that she recently was diagnosed with breast cancer and has been working through chemotherapy to continue supporting herself and her three children. She wanted others to know why she supports the bill. She took the maximum leave her work allowed, but now she is back juggling work, family, and her treatments. It is a struggle. She is scheduled to have surgery next month.

Research from other states shows that self-care for major medical emergencies is the biggest use of paid leave. Our bill is designed to help Kesha make a full recovery and return to work healthy, focused, and productive.

TESTIFY AT THE FEB. 11 HEARING: Your voice is essential to the legislative process. The final hearing for public witnesses is scheduled for February 11, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. in Room 500 of the Wilson Building. To sign up for the witness list, call the Committee of the Whole at (202) 724-8196 or email Christina Setlow at csetlow@dccouncil.us. You must provide your name, address, telephone number, organizational affiliation, and title (if applicable) by close of business Monday, February 8, 2016.

Paid Family Leave meeting in Ward 5

PAID LEAVE IN WARD 5: Last week I joined Councilmember Grosso at the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) monthly meeting to answer questions about how paid leave works and the impact it would have on residents. Thank you Councilmember McDuffie and BNCA for welcoming a productive conversation. If you’d like me to come to your neighborhood meeting to talk about paid leave, contact Ashley Fox in my office at afox@dccouncil.us.

IN THE COMMUNITY

COME TO WARD MEETINGS ON PUBLIC EDUCATION: Last month, the Deputy Mayor for Education formed a Cross-Sector Collaboration Task Force to develop recommendations for improving education and student outcomes citywide. The task force now wants to hear from the public, starting with a series of ward focus groups in February. You can sign up here for a meeting in your neighborhood.

DISNEY ON ICE TICKETS!: We still have quite a few vouchers for tickets! Contact Charnisa Royster at croyster@dccouncil.us to coordinate pick up.

  • Wednesday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. ($9 tickets)
  • Thursday, February 11 at 7:30 p.m. ($9 tickets)
  • Monday, February 15 at 12:30 p.m. ($16 tickets)

Thanks so much!
Elissa.