D.C. area commuters complain Metro parking lots still full of snow

By Nicole Norfleet
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 18, 2010

With no federal two-hour delay to help stagger the waves of riders, finding a parking spot Wednesday didn't get much easier for some Metro commuters.

In an e-mail, A.J. Lutz explained his annoyance with the "free for all" for spaces at Metro's Greenbelt lot.

"There seemed to be way too much of the parking lot that has yet to be touched by a plow," he said.

Comments like these, which appeared on The Washington Post's Get There blog, mainly criticized Metro's seeming inability to clear snow.

But the agency's maintenance crews have been working round-the-clock to clean snow-covered garage decks and respond to other reports of blocked spaces at its parking facilities, Metro officials said. The agency knew coming into this week that a good portion of its spaces would be unavailable, agency spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he said the crews were "making progress." Cleanup was to continue late into the night.

"People need to be patient -- there are only so many places we can take the snow," he said.

He suggested that people arrive earlier to better their chances of getting a space.

Cindy Estep arrived at the New Carrollton lot earlier than usual Wednesday, about 6:45 a.m. She said a fair number of spaces were available.

In her estimation, there wasn't much change from the day before in the number of spaces covered in snow. Estep thought that about a third of the spots were still piled with snow.

She was one of the lucky ones. By 8:30 a.m., a huge backup of cars was snaking into the New Carrollton station lot.

Estep said that she plans to arrive at least 30 minutes early every day for a while, and that she isn't looking forward to next week, when Prince George's County schools no longer have delays.

More parents will then be driving at their normal time, adding to the already congested commute.

"Who knows what it's going to be like Monday?" Estep said.

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