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Thursday, February 25, 2010

St. Paul City Council to focus on snowplowing after receiving complaints from residents

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Pioneer Press said...

Heavy snows have led to complaints, members say
By Dave Orrick
dorrick@pioneerpress.com
Updated: 02/25/2010 12:02:09 AM CST


From ice-melting flamethrowers to weekly parking bans, St. Paul City Council members Wednesday lobbed around ideas for how better to clear snow like so many orbs in a snowball fight.

In the end, nothing was decided — except to have a more focused discussion in the future — but the discussion underscored the fact that snow can carry political weight, and this year, it's been heavy.

Several council members — especially those with constituents in the western portion of the city, which was hit harder than the east during the Christmas storm and following deep freeze — told Public Works Director Bruce Beese their offices had been pummeled with complaints.

"The neighborhood I represent is really in terrible condition," said council member Pat Harris, of the Highland Park neighborhood. Harris had requested that Beese stand before the council and answer for the conditions, which over the weekend resulted in an extreme 24-7 parking ban for portions of a number of narrower streets in the city.

"Do you think it's going well? Because I don't," Harris said to Beese after Beese had given a broad but vague overview of city plowing. "Are you missing equipment? Is your budget not where it should be?"

"That's a loaded question," Beese responded. "We can always do better."

Beese and Kevin Nelson, the city's street maintenance engineer who oversees plowing, told council members that some of the city's equipment is aging — 25 of 80 plows broke down during the Christmas storm — and the department lacks the number of ice-cutting rigs it would like. They noted the department in recent years has decreased its annual equipment budget from $500,000 to $100,000 but might seek to increase it next year.

Council member Lee Helgen criticized the pair for not declaring back-to-back snow emergencies during the Christmas storm, as Minneapolis did. Council President Kathy Lantry suggested the department investigate buying newer technology, including a newly patented flamethrower she recently learned of in an e-mail.

Council member Dan Bostrom suggested going old-school by simply straightening out plow blades "to at least open up a strip in the middle of the street." Someone else pointed out that might lead to cars on both sides being plowed in.

Council member Russ Stark tossed out the idea of "perhaps moving cars one day every week" in different neighborhoods, possibly to coincide with recycling pickup schedules.

Nelson said the city's two experiments this year with "voluntary" snow emergencies were largely unsuccessful because not enough people moved their cars. "We were weaving and dodging cars," he said. "We went home."

Council member Dave Thune defended the city's plowing performance most strongly among the council members, many of whom credited the operation for dealing with an especially tough winter. He said many people might have forgotten the city's prior generation of plowing policies.

"In 1990, we had a horrible system in place," he said. "It took (three days) to plow all the streets. I thought we did remarkably well this year."

12:08 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Dave Thune said;
In 1990, we had a horrible system in place," he said. "It took (three days) to plow all the streets. I thought we did remarkably well this year."

My response;
Dave, Dave, DAVE!

You are starting to sound like Chuck. FACT---> the city did a remarkably horrible job of clearing the streets. Ask any resident who doesn't have their nose stuck up some politicians ass and you will get the truth.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty amazing how much we sound alike isn't it...?

Here's the deal, the plowing sucked because of the damn melt we had in the middle of that ended up with all the F'ing ice that took until last week to melt for most street... but... the point is we still ended up better than Minneapolis that had to give up parking on one side of the street for the entire City.

And, what they were talking about is the problem is getting cars moved. There are always too many leaving blocks that are crap for the entire winter.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Day Late and a Dollar short.
They always respond to late,
these council people try to pinch every penny till Abe Lincoln yells enough!
We as St.Paul-ite's said enough long ago, to the seven in charge of the council.

Bill Dahn

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look what they are saying over at Saint Paul Issues Forum.

http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/stpaul-issues/messages/topic/4QgNVS5jkKIayBpvUvbSw8

Seems the Dems are putting the blame on this mess on the GOP.

Maybe it is George Bush's fault?

2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck;

Here's the deal, the plowing sucked because of the damn melt we had in the middle of that ended up with all the F'ing ice that took until last week to melt for most street... but... the point is we still ended up better than Minneapolis that had to give up parking on one side of the street for the entire City.

Response;

For the taxes I pay in St. Paul you would think when we had the thaw the city would have realized it was the perfect opportunity to clean up the side streets! That is when I got out there and cleaned up the sidewalks better so the good ole city would not issue me a citation.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:25 The City tried a "voluntary" move your car clean up... nobody moved their cars.

They wasted a lot of money.

The other issue is once it turns to ice in the middle of the street, there is really very little the plows can do. If you run a straight blade on a crowned street there is only so close to the ground you can go. That is just the way it is.

I know it is always easier to just wave a magic wand an want things fixed, but in the real world there are real issues that make some things work better than others. If you want to clear the streets, you need the cars off of them. PW has to let you know in advance that they are coming to make that happen, so in Saint Paul emergencies always start on the evening after the snow stops.

In the burbs they don't let people park on the streets.

JMONTOMEPPOF

Chuck Repke

11:41 AM  

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