Snow Non-removal

I must warn you all that I am really crabby! We haven’t had a terrible amount of snow this winter, probably only about a foot, but our streets look as though we live in southern Minnesota after a big blizzard.  Our town has a very sad history of snow removal, and after 30 years of living here, I still can’t get used to it. I slide through intersections and almost get stuck on the side streets on my way home.  There are vehicles and trailers parked on the streets around where we live that haven’t been moved in months, and you can tell because there are piles of snow where the city plows have had to work around them.

We are friends with a guy who works for the city and who runs one of the snow plows. He  tells us that if it snows and if it seems like it might warm up and the snow might melt, they won’t plow.  They try to let the warming temps melt the snow. If it turns to ice, so be it.  At least they save the city money.  When they do plow, they scrape everything in front of the driveway so we have to shovel to be able to get the vehicles out. It is maddening!

One April about 25 years ago we had a terrible snow storm that dumped about a foot of snow. Because it was predicted to get warm, they didn’t plow, and we almost destroyed the undercarriage of our vehicle driving over ice ruts in the street because it didn’t warm up, and all the snow just compacted and made every trip in the car a jostling nightmare.  Now I hear that another Arctic air mass will hit us on Sunday.  Enough, already!!

What do you do to cheer up?  How is snow removal handled where you live?

 

56 thoughts on “Snow Non-removal”

  1. Here in Minneapolis, they declare a “snow emergency” when they determine there is enough snow to plow. They have a specific method of doing this and car owners are supposed to move their cars so the plows can do their jobs. The first night of a snow emergency, they plow the Snow Emergency Routes, which are mainly the main streets.

    Then the following morning they plow the even side of the non snow-emergency routes, which are residential streets, many of which have lots of cars parked on them. The next day, they plow the odd side of those streets. The problem comes when people don’t move their cars from one side of the street to the other. Supposedly these cars can be towed out of the way, but I have never seen a single one towed. Instead the plow just goes around the parked car, leaving a massive amount of snow around the car, in the middle of the street. Some blocks almost nobody moves their car, so the plow just goes down the middle of the street.

    The city claims their plows plow “to the curb,” but even when the cars are moved out of the way, this isn’t the case. It’s usually plowed only to within 5 feet or so of the curb – or more. The result is that it’s impossible for people to park close to the curb, so as the winter goes on, the driveable part of the streets get narrower and narrower. When you drive down a particularly narrow residential street, with cars parked on both sides of the street, and meet an oncoming school bus that barrels down the middle of the street, it can be quite scary.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. This is always true when they plow the alley (most people in my neighborhood have driveways off the alley not the street). There is always a compacted ridge of snow there after alley plowing.

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        1. Before our last snow emergency a couple of nights ago, Hans placed a large piece of particleboard across the front of our shoveled entryway in an attempt at diverting the mound of compacted snow. Not exactly sure what his theory was, but, of course it didn’t work. It did give him a little extra exercise hauling the board from the garage to the front curb and back again, though.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Rise and Shovel Baboons,

    Our snow removal is pretty good–just the usual problems with the snow pile at the end of the driveway. Given the amount of snow in the past three weeks, the person who really has room to complain is our mailman. Despite our best efforts to keep the mailbox free, the pile around it nearly covers the mailbox. His job has to be challenge. Our biggest issue this winter has been the ancient snowblower which now requires that it be replaced. It has been temperamental, but then it is 21 years old and has always given excellent service, even through driving it over a dog chain which became tangled in the auger. That was LOUD.

    Our house is developing ice dams, one of which dripped icicles and water right by our back door which then became impossible to open. So we have been trying to remove snow from the roof and ice from the patio.

    My only disgruntled comment about snow removal actually is a comment about the “Next Door” neighborhood app. I like this site very much–it is like having a garage sale on the ipad, or an old-fashioned radio swap show. But there is someone on there who seems to view this app as his personal grumpy space where he and his wife can complain about stuff, including snow removal. They display really caustic “humor” that I don’t find funny. When another user confronts this they mock them. I finally blocked them and reported him as “uncivil.”

    Renee, they made your self-definition of “grumpiness” seem over critical of yourself. Your unhappiness with your local snow removal sounds legitimate to me. Wednesday I worked at home during our 9″ of snow. I worked out on our 4 season porch and pretended I was living in a snowglobe. It helped. The scene was stunningly beautiful.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Meant to be a reply to Jacque: I’ve never understood why we give our homes roofs that can’t handle ice dams. Because ice dams happen. I can’t believe there isn’t a better construction plan for roofs . . . but I must be wrong because we go on doing it the same way (and my nephew goes on getting rich by fighting ice dams).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Our local “Next Door” bulletin board also has a few contributors who routinely badmouth everyone and everything.I don’t know them personally, but I remember their names so I can steer clear of them should I ever run into them in the neighborhood. Glad I don’t know them.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Yeah – we have ice dams now, too. The recurring spots we have added stuff under our roofing to keep the water from getting in (like extra flashing under the shingles), but we sprouted a new set this year that has resulted in a bit of water getting into Daughter’s bedroom ceiling. Newer construction homes seem to have figured out better insulation to reduce the ice dams…but old houses like mine, well, it’s part of the – ahem – charm of the home…

      Liked by 2 people

    4. ice dams
      fill a nylon stocking with salt product and lay it over ice dam
      it will melt a trench for water to run through
      do it 27 times for 27 spots to let water run

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  3. Our snow removal is generally good in our small town. The benchmark for plowing is 2 inches or more of snow. I can’t believe Fargo/Grand Forks or wherever Renee lives won’t plow a foot of snow if it “might” melt just to save money! Why haven’t residents moved out of town in droves? That’s one of the few taxes I willingly pay because mobility around town is important for the vast majority of residents.

    Our drifts are so high the plows have a hard time getting snow over them and off the roads, so the streets tend to narrow. Most people are good about moving their cars off snow emergency routes and we have odd/even parking all winter so plowed-in cars usually get moved within a day . . . or they get ticketed/towed.

    Renee, you need to start a campaign to fix the plowing situation or at least have a serious chat with the city council or county commissioners. I’d raise holy heck if I lived up there.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

        1. Saw it the second I had hit “post comment,” but figured you’d all be able to figure it out (but fully expecting a smart ass comment or two.) 🙂

          Liked by 4 people

  4. From time to time St. Paul ran out of funds to plow city streets. It probably happened in Minneapolis too, but I don’t remember that. Each year the plow guys started off with a fund of money for snow removal. If the city was hit by too many storms the money would be gone with weeks of winter yet to come.

    That happened in the late sixties. When the money ran out the plows stayed home. All the city streets in St. Paul built up a fat dome of hard snow in the middle of the street, with two deep tire ruts in the middle of that. You always hoped you wouldn’t meet a car headed toward you then, because somebody would have to back up until they got to a place where they could pop their car out of the ruts to let the other vehicle pass by.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The winter of 2013-14 was full of snow and I was working near Steve’shouse in St. Paul. I can verify that the roads there are unplowed, full of ruts, and narrow. It was hard to exit the neighborhood.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Last spring we had a big snow on April 15th. The city had money to plow, but their contract with the tow truck operators only went through the end of March, so there was no towing, only ticketing, before the plows went through. A lot of cars were plowed into piles up to their windows. Here’s one of the photos I snapped the next day –
    snow

    The snow melted fast in the subsequent warm spell we had. Fortunate for those drivers who were caught flat footed.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. BiR: That was almost exactly what my daughter said one morning after a snowstorm. We were looking at a large lump of snow. What she said was, “The Ford is in there somewhere, right?” I should explain that “the Ford” was a station wagon (not small) painted bright red.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, they are complaining in Fargo, too. Today there was a letter to the editor in the Fargo Forum from a former Fargo city snow plow operator chastising the “arm chair snow plow operators” for criticizing the snow removal efforts.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. A couple of years ago, Montreal had a ridiculously large amount of snow. They city tried to remove as much snow as they could to a big pile, and it took until July or August for the pile to melt. Friends told us that their house was almost obscured by a huge pile of snow that accumulated as they continuously shoveled the walks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. St. Paul dumps snow in a large parking lot adjacent to the now-vacant Sears store near the Capitol. Some years the pile persists well into July. This may be one of those years. It would be sort of nice if the snow could be used as a sledding location for neighborhood kids, but it’s so full of dirt and road salt that it becomes just a sad gray heap.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I worked for the DFL House members, they officed in a weird building right across the street from Sears. The building was called SOB. And it was literally true that in that building, “the elevators don’t go to the top floor.” Employees with extremely low status were told to park their cars there, next to Sears, in what was called “Lot X.” If you parked in Lot X, which I did, you had daily proof you were nobody of consequence!

        Liked by 3 people

  7. I’ve been impressed so far with the snow removal diligence here, but the city doesn’t plow alleys. So it seems that every block has one or two people who do some alley snow blowing. Some blocks are even luckier, and have someone with a pickup w/blade, so they even get their end-of-alley plowed out, to clear those after-the-snow-plows gunk. We aren’t usually that lucky, so at the end of the alley, we people with low-slung cars just floor it and pray you’ll make it through, if it’s not yet been compacted. We do sometimes give the alley snow blower people some cash for gas… it’s one of those neighborly things that restores your faith in people.

    And for cheering up, I sing, dance, or go out to lunch. with some like-minded person. : )

    Liked by 3 people

  8. An accumulations of three or more inches of snow will typically trigger a snow emergency to be declared in St. Paul. We live on a snow emergency route, so our street has to be clear of cars by 9 PM for night plowing to be successful. You will be ticketed and towed if you don’t move your car, so on our block we make an effort to help each other get cars off the street. The following day, starting at 8 AM, plowing of the day routes begin. They don’t plow alleys here, so those can be quite challenging, not just for folks who have garages in the back, but also for the garbage and recycling trucks. And yes, all that compacted snow piled up in front of already shoveled entry ways and alleys is a royal pain in the posterior.

    That said, considering the accumulation of snow we’ve had this year in February, I’m impressed that most things function as well as they do. Mail carriers and delivery trucks of all kinds must be facing extraordinary challenges this season.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been debating all day whether I should weigh in. Because I know that no matter how I say this, it is going to sound like bragging. But I’ve been lucky enough that I really haven’t had to shovel at all this year except for one morning where there was a berm at the end of the driveway. All of my neighbors are taking good care of me this year. And I live on Lyndale which is a county road so it’s well plowed.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That doesn’t sound like bragging to me at all, vs; it sounds like gratitude. Good neighbors are priceless, and I’m sure that’s how yours think of you too.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. A friend of mine posted photos of a foot of snow in Sedona this morning. It’s probably gone by now, though.

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  10. Hi–
    I’m on the townboard of our township so road maintenance is a big deal.
    We contract with our county to do our plowing and they do a good job. Randy is the main plow truck driver in our area and Craig is the blade operator. I can call either if I need something immediately and I try not to hassle them when the neighbors call and say “The Roads are terrible! The blades need to get out there!”. Yes, they do and I’m sure they’re working on it. And No, I won’t call to check on them.

    But this has been a rough winter. One of the local school bus companies called last week just to be sure we knew, they need roads open by about 6:30AM to get kids to school on time. And they didn’t want special treatment or anything, just making sure we know what they need.
    Next snow fall he called me at 6:30 AM to complain a road wasn’t cleared yet. Well, you can’t all be first; they’re working on it. A neighbor told me the road grader went by about 6:45.
    It is what it is.

    And Randy, the truck driver, called me today to let me know they were spreading rock on the main gravel roads ahead of the potential freezing rain. They’re good guys and they’re doing their best.

    Renee, would it help to tell the city council you’d be willing to pay more taxes for better plowing service? Can you convince all the neighbors of that? Or do you need to vote them all out?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. North Dakotans are famous for wanting lots of services but not paying for those services. Raising taxes is unthinkable to them. Another problem is that the city and even the State can’t compete with the oil companies’ salaries, and there are never enough people to hire for city and State jobs.

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    2. I’m wary of people with simple answers to complex problems. It’s a lot easier to complain about everything that’s wrong than fixing any of it.

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  11. Daughter has been shoveling for a neighbor this winter. For the first stretch she was feeling kinda skunked – okay before winter break when homework was heavy, but less good when she wanted the extra cash for spending money. The last couple of snows the neighbor has paid her extra because of the large snow amounts. Even brought Husband and I a bottle of wine as a thank you after he cleared out the mouth of her driveway after one of the storms. We don’t have a long driveway or a lot of sidewalk – but this is the sort of winter where finding places to put some of the snow has gotten challenging. Dogs, however, seem mostly unfazed by drifts twice their size.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Of my dogs, Anna, the one who loved deep snow was Brandy, our first springer spaniel. She was a gung-ho, balls to the walls kind of dog. She was overjoyed when she could smash about in snow so deep she was under the crust. When she did that I could trace her progress by the bump that zoomed around on the crusted snow. Every dozen feet or so Brandy would pop through the crust, ears akimbo, in what I called her “springer on a pogo stick” maneuver. She’d be up in the light for a few seconds, long enough to get her bearings before she dropped below crust level and began zooming around leaving a sort of trail like a mole leaves in a lawn. God, I miss her!

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Sorry to hear about struggles.
    I live in Europe, in northern Norway, North Cape. I must say none of it happens here, roads are very well maintained, but of course there are days, when roads are to be closed due the weather.
    Last weekend was sad 5 ºC came in and all the snow what was left on road surface turned into ice. To fight with ice, they put crushed granite on the road.
    Anyway, i hope you survive the next wave of cold and snow then.

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  14. hi, being from florida… and moving to Utah in my 30 and seeing SNOW for the first time.. i cannot get upset about snow… being snowed in is just another chance to throw logs on the fire.. the world can stop.. our power went out, my hubby was out of town.. i was making weird soups on the gas stove b/c rations were a bit low.. (for our tastes).. and i just loved it.. even when my hands froze trying to tear the hay apart to feed the horses and breaking the frozen water so i could carry buckets (sick with cancer and didn’t know it at the time) .. i credit the miracle of seeing snow.. fall and land… after 35 years of hurricanes, tornados, daily rains.. itchy grass seed, mowing the lawn every five minutes or you get a notice on your door.. ponds and lakes drying up or flooding over.. i came to appreciate the quiet solitude of rocky red mountains.. and our little one acre.. that and i had a GREAT 2004 huyndai elantra that just drove like a champ in the snow.. it never once failed me even when i passed other vehicles all over the place.. maybe, you could have your town call the town of cedar city utah ask them how they keep those roads so dang beautiful so fast after a DEEP snow every year… besides the city guys.. town guys come out in droves in their decked out pick up trucks and four wheelers.. it would seem they all know each other.. and they are like a GANG.. and man.. they are awesome.. and they do it for free.. they get all the little areas.. driveways, alleys, stores..

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  15. I can only imagine what that is like. I was born in Massachusetts and ended up moving to Texas (no idea what BAD snowing sessions look like). What I do know is that I would not be happy about it. Especially if the city (or any other governing official) is supposed to deal with that on behalf of the people.

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