Here in the city of my birth, I was up early to apply about 50 pounds of salt and sand to the sidewalks around my house. Following, that is, the shoveling of same. You see, last night we got a rainstorm that started out at around 46 degrees and went down into the teens. Along the way, it left lumpy ice and a covering of snow on every surface in the region.
As I left for work, cleats on my sneakers, I noticed a city crew snow-blowing the hockey rink across the street. Between my shoveling and salting, and the hockey rink, it consituted more surface maintenance than the rest of the city got today. Consequently, as of 2100 (9pm) Tuesday night, the major streets in the capitol city of the state look like Farm Road 17 in the far reaches of North Dakota. Every intersection is dangerous, the main roads – Snelling Avenue, and University Avenue, are both monstrosities.
Someone in the city leadership – a term I apply very loosely – decided not to plow, salt, or sand in the wake of a major ice storm.
Other cities around us took care of their roads. But not Saint Paul.
I’m sure we forgot to order fuel for the plows and salt for the trucks. Perhaps it wasn’t enough snow to trigger the system. Perhaps we didn’t have the budget money because we diverted the funds to cleaning up the bodies from the violent summer we just had. I don’t know the reason.
But I do know the solution: nag the hell out of the city council. This is unacceptable. This is dangerous. The budget excuse isn’t valid – when there’s ice on the roads, you sand and salt to remove it. You don’t wait for a sunny day to melt it – not when it’s 16 degrees. Every time they botch this kind of thing, I’ll be whining. I’ll be calling my councilmember. I’ll be calling the new Mayor – he’s a decent guy, and I hope he listens.
Come on, Saint Paul, this isn’t the sticks. You can do better.
And they wonder why people are abandoning the city and moving to the suburbs. Eagan plows.