Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When Did We Get Wussy?

I asked the same question last snowstorm, but it bears repeating this time around. We only got about 6 to 8 inches of snow yesterday, and it was the light fluffy kind that's easy to shovel. I did my front walk in under 15 minutes this morning without getting all that tired, and I'm no youngster.

Norristown declared a "snow emergency" at noon yesterday. What that usually means is that people should stay off the roads so the plows can go to work. But did the plows go to work?

As I said before, I live on a main route, but the first I heard a plow on my street was last night around 8:30. He was gone by the time I looked out (he was going that fast). The street didn't look plowed at all, so I'm guessing he was just passing through. Possibly it was a salt truck, but what's the point of salting an unplowed street with the temperature below 20 F and not expected to rise above for days? I heard a plow again, maybe an hour later, and this time the street looked, well, sort of plowed. This morning, there was still several inches of packed snow on the street. What was the point of plowing off only the top 3 or 4 inches?

In Norristown, for the last 50+ years, we've always taken snowfalls under about 8 inches in stride, especially if it's powdery, light snow. It should be no big deal to remove it. 8 to 12 inches is also fairly normal for us. Takes a bit more effort and time, but it's part of winter and no cause to panic. 12 to 20 inches, okay, more unusual for us, but not unheard of. I only remember a handful of snowstorms in my lifetime where it took more than a day for the main routes to be plowed.

I have friends who live in the South--Atlanta through D.C.--and they've told me what their snow removal is like. I've also worked for a company that did downtown snow removal in New England, Denver, Atlantic City and Southern towns like Greenville, SC, and Georgetown, MD. I know not all municipal snow removal is alike--every town has different equipment and strategies based on their usual annual snowfall and climate. This year, Norristown seems to be acting like a town south of the Potomac.

My best friend lives on a cul-de-sac in King of Prussia about as far away from 202 as you can get without ending up in the Schuylkill. Her street was completely cleared down to the macadam early this morning.

What's the deal? Does Norristown only have one plow driver? Do we not want to pay overtime? Does our borough manager not yet understand that we can't use the same snow strategy as Georgia?

Norristonians need to get to work. Norristown businesses need customers to be able to get to them. "Snow emergency" doesn't mean shutting down the whole town until spring.

1 comment:

  1. Again, Stanbridge Street outside the far entrance gate of the Norristown State Hospital is still has a crusty layer of packed down ice and snow. It's deplorable as that's not only used by essential personnel who at the state hospital, but also workers at Nor-Fab and Otis Spunkmeyer. This is also the only way for a small residential neighborhood at the far end to get out for their regular commutes everyday.

    What's worse is that whoever my apartment complex contracts to clear the parking lot and outside steps and walkways has really been getting lax in the past couple of storms. It's now the evening after and the stairs and walkway leading from the outside door still have yet to have exposed concrete. I suspect a lawsuit just waiting to happen here...