One further note, if you're encountering unshoveled sidewalks, that's the responsibility of the homeowners not the borough. Half our properties are landlord owned. Sometimes the tenants will clear walks, but it's ultimately the landlord's responsibility.
Tuesday, Jan 26th: Yesterday morning I logged onto Facebook and was surprised to learn that one of our councilman, Mr. Millner, had apparently talked to NBC10 less than 24 hours after the end of the blizzard to say that Norristown had failed at snow removal. Mr. Millner's a minister. It occurred to me that he of all people ought to understand the concept of "act of God."
Or if you're not so religiously inclined, call it an act of nature. Or a result of climate change. But what you SHOULDN'T call it, or imply that it was (as Mr. Millner and a lot of other whining residents are doing) is a normal snowstorm. It wasn't anywhere near normal.
The National Weather Service says Norristown got 30 inches of snow. That's the 2nd most in my lifetime, beat out only by the Blizzard of 1996. We had a 2-foot snowfall in the mid-sixties and close to that in 1978, but this kind of storm only comes around about once every 20 years (though, it could become more frequent with climate change).
In the Blizzard of 1996, Norristown was at a standstill for a week. No one went anywhere. Our family had to go downtown after 5 days for a viewing and funeral. The streets were deserted, which was just as well, because parking was impossible. Every intersection was marked by a 13 foot pile of snow because nobody knew where else to put it.
So, this time, in less than 24 hours, you folks think all that snow should have miraculously disappeared? Do you think we have a magic snow fairy who takes it away in the middle of the night?
Here's the math. Norristown is 4 square miles. That's 111,513,600 square feet. Two and a half feet of snow fell on it. That's 278 MILLION, 784 THOUSAND cubic feet of the white stuff. That's about 200 million more cubic feet than we're used to receiving in on of our usual bad snowfalls. Sure, some of it's on lawns and roofs, but the rest is someplace where it needs to be moved. It takes time to move that much snow. It takes a little strategy, too, to figure out where to put the snow and how to clear a narrow street without blocking the cars in or dumping snow back onto cleaned walks.
Norristown has more miles of streets than any of the surrounding townships. My best friend in King of Prussia only had her street plowed yesterday. Why are me supposed to be more superhuman than Upper Merion, who doesn't have the same volume of snow to move? We have narrow streets filled with parked cars. Much more of a challenge than spread out suburban developments. They have lots of room to pile snow, we don't.
Someone on Nextdoor.com was saying how stupid Council and Public Works was to get rid of small plows because they now had nothing to do the narrow streets with. I don't know where she got her info. It seems to be wrong. I do know that there were front end loaders out doing small streets yesterday--a much better idea than a plow in those spots. The small plow that tried to do my alley ended up leaving a huge mountain of snow partially blocking my drive. Small plows don't work in this kind of situation. The front end loaders are slower but a much better solution.
I think it's too soon to say if Norristown is or isn't doing a good job with snow removal. We're only 3 days away from the blizzard. This is a special situation. I think our Public Works workers have been doing as excellent a job as they can. They were out all during the blizzard, working long shifts, getting emergency vehicles unstuck, getting doctors and nurses to area hospitals, and still managing to make plow passes on our major arteries. The plow crew that went down Fornance Street Sunday morning looked absolutely exhausted. They're human, they're doing the best they can, and I thank them for it. Give them the recognition they deserve instead of grief. They're heroes.
I'm going to point out another hero, Buck Jones, and his friends who, instead of whining have been out around town helping people dig out. That should be everyone's response. Help your neighbors. Make sure the elderly are dug out enough so they can at least have someone pick them up or get deliveries of food and medicine. I know the majority of N-town residents are all doing the right thing and riding this out with common sense.
The rest of you need to calm yourselves. Be patient. Slow down. We've been hit by a tremendous act of nature. Municipal Hall didn't cause it. Council didn't cause it. You need to adapt for a week instead of stamping your feet. If your street still isn't cleared by, say Feburary 1, fine, then rant all you want.
|Fornance St, Wednesday morning Jan 27. See comment and reply below.|