The week before the Blizzard of 2016, the Rosslyn BID Ambassador team was busy preparing: their snow shovels, warm clothing, salt, snow blower and more were ready. It wasn't the first time they'd dealt with harsh winter weather, but as a relatively new team (three of the ten Ambassadors started their jobs just two months ago), it was their first experience working together under difficult conditions.
Additional snow support is one of the services the BID offers Rosslyn residents and employees each winter. Besides the snow removal services Arlington County and individual property owners provide, during snowstorms the BID Ambassadors clear and salt 30 curb cuts (lower parts of curbs that are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers), seven medians and three sky bridges to help keep drivers and pedestrians safe.
When the first flakes fell Wednesday night and conditions turned unexpectedly icy, they were there to shovel and spread salt.
Friday morning, though many Rosslyn employees worked from home, the Ambassadors were getting ready for the long weekend ahead. They were there when the snow began Friday afternoon, shoveling and using their snow blower in an attempt to get ahead of the storm. Led by Rosslyn BID Operations Manager Victor Carcamo, they worked late into the night to remove snow and monitor the storm.
"The Ambassadors really came together as a team through this experience," Carcamo said. "We put forth our best efforts throughout this storm, even under difficult conditions. We had each other's backs and really took care of each other."
On Friday, the Ambassadors helped a stranded motorist push his vehicle from Fort Myer Drive to the Holiday Inn parking lot. Carcamo said they usually help more motorists dislodge their vehicles during snowstorms. This storm was so severe, though, the few vehicles they did see were abandoned.
"In my past experience dealing with snowstorms, it's important to get out there and maintain curbs and other areas we're responsible for while the storm is in progress, to the extent we're able to do so safely," Carcamo said. "If you wait until the snow stops, some of it will have hardened into ice and it will be much more difficult to remove."
The team of ten continued working hard throughout the day on Saturday, taking frequent breaks and making sure to stay inside when icy winds made it too difficult to work. They wanted to help ensure residents would be able to get out and businesses would be accessible when the snow stopped. As of Monday morning, they had collectively logged more than 125 hours of work. Carcamo said they would continue working that day, monitoring conditions and salting areas that were icy.
Against the backdrop of their hard work throughout the blizzard, there were signs of life on Rosslyn's otherwise deserted streets: cross-country skiers reveled in the powdery flakes, boldly slicing down an empty Lynn St. Uptown, Bistro 360 and Piola kept the lights on throughout the storm. People gathered around the bar to enjoy drink specials and camaraderie, with these spots taking on the feel of a neighborhood party. Target was open, even on Saturday, for those in need of supplies.
"I was impressed by everyone's work ethic," Carcamo says of the BID's Ambassadors. "We are proud of our neighborhood and our role in making it great."
To see more images of the Ambassadors at work or photos of Rosslyn during the Blizzard of 2016, visit the Rosslyn BID's Facebook page.