Snowmaggedon or Not, It Still Needs to be Cleared

A look at who manages snow removal in Columbia

This time of year is often associated with after-holiday sales, new year’s resolutions and snow. Many of you are probably concerned about the snow removal in your neighborhood and the streets and sidewalks that you encounter on a daily basis. You might find yourself wondering who is in charge of removing the snow from the highway you take to work or the street you live on.

Since the next Snowpacolypse might be right around the corner, allow me to take this time to let you know how the Columbia Association (CA) and the Howard County government handle snow removal in our area. CA removes snow from the open space areas that are owned by CA, while the Howard County government handles the removal of snow on highways and public streets. If you belong to a homeowners or condo association that owns the street you live on, that association is in charge of plowing your street and, in some cases (if you’re lucky enough) the sidewalks.

Open space areas
CA’s Open Space Division clears snow found on the pathways; footbridges; overpasses and underpasses; and areas around the lakes and tot lots owned by CA in the community. CA also removes snow around the buildings and property managed by the village community associations, like Claret Hall in River Hill and The Other Barn in Oakland Mills. While it is true that certain parts of CA’s open space land connects, or comes close, to private property, CA does not remove any snow from residential sidewalks.

“We know a lot of people like to use the pathways for their daily exercise, so we make an effort to get out there and clear those areas as quickly as possible after a snow storm,” says Daniel D’Amore, director of CA’s Open Space Management Division.

When there is a snow storm, CA diligently clears snow from the open space areas, and CA-owned facility parking lots and sidewalks. However, if you’re concerned about a particular area that needs to be cleared, you can submit a comment to the CA Community Solutions Program or directly contact your local village community center to let them know.

Roadways and public streets
The Howard County Department of Public Works (HCDPW) is responsible for clearing public streets and highways in the county. Property owners and renters who live on private roads are responsible for clearing their own streets and sidewalks if they are not taken care of by a homeowners association. If you’re not sure if you live on a private road, call the Howard County Real Estate Division at 410-313-2330.

County roads are prioritized for service by the HCDPW into primary, secondary and residential categories. Primary and secondary roads are cleared first to ensure that public safety vehicles can travel safely. You can also track real time progress of snow plows during a storm. Learn more about snow removal in Howard County and how to track snow plow progress by visiting the Howard County Bureau of Highways.

Snow and schools
CA cares deeply about the safety of Columbia residents and we want parents to rest assured that it will be safe for their kids to walk on well-cleared pathways. Through a partnership with the Howard County Public School System, CA makes clearing pathways that lead to elementary and middle schools a priority following a snow storm on school days.

The HCDPW has partnerships with CA, the Howard County Public School System, the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks to ensure that bus stops in the county are as clear as possible.

No matter where you are in Columbia, you can feel secure in knowing that CA and the HCDPW are working hard to make the streets and pathways safe for travel. Bring on the snow!


— Written by Aria White


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