Perhaps looking to avoid the stumbles of last year’s snow removal, Mayor Muriel Bowser arrived at the Fort Totten salt dome Friday morning to announce that the city will have more than 20 new plow trucks at its disposal this year.

Despite no trace of snow yet, the army of agencies in charge of snow removal did the annual test run Friday, with plow drivers driving their routes and other staff members overseeing logistics and administrative tasks. The city has purchased 14 new heavy plow trucks and six new light plows, rented 15 additional plows, and implemented “new technology to track the plows and new traffic cameras to monitor progress.”

“We’ve taken a close look at previous snow seasons and improved on them,” Bowser said in a press release.

This winter will be the first in 11 years without longtime Department of Public Works chief Bill Howland, who resigned in June. In a release, Acting Director Christopher Shorter said “the DC Snow Team began preparing for winter weather this spring.”

Bowser is urging people to join the Resident Snow Team, a volunteer group that helps shovel snow for seniors and those with disabilities, just as new penalties are expected to begin this winter for those who don’t shovel their front sidewalk.

Back in August, DPW released proposed rules to fine residents $25 and businesses $150 for not clearing their sidewalk within 24 hours, after the D.C. Council passed legislation in 2014 to crack down on snow scofflaws. Residents over 65 won’t have to pay a fine if they prove the city their age; residents with disabilities qualify for an exemption if they have been “determined to have a disability pursuant to a government assistance program” or can provide a doctor’s note. Public works spokesperson Linda Grant said final rules are set to be released within the next “week or two.”

Time to put that shovel to good use, Jack Evans.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery