Dependable Erection

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow plow fail

Leave aside for the moment the neighborhood streets that will never see a plow during this storm. Let's also ignore, while we can, the three walks past untrafficked major thoroughfares like Roxboro Street in the past 24 hours without seeing a single plow. Overtime for plow drivers probably isn't in the city's budget this year.

What i'd like to know is how hard is it to train the plow drivers not to drop loads of rock salt & sand like big brown turds in the road, and spread them out over the ice where they can actually do some good?

And let's not mention the use of plowed snow to block access to southbound Mangum Street from Markham Ave., shall we? It's one thing to block in someone's driveway or street parked car. That's the price you pay for a cleared street. But seriously, blocking access to one street with snow plowed from another? Come on Mr. Bonfield and Mr. Bell. Do we take any time at all to train the guys who are responsible for keeping our streets clean?
UPDATE: Pic of Mangum Ave. from Saturday:

photo by Summer Puente

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  • This fits in with a trend I've noticed. Club Blvd is fine, Hillsborough is a mess. Downtown streets are in good shape, except Mangum and Roxboro. Main in front of Duke is packed ice, but Broad St. is okay. Duke and Gregson are wretched, Buchanan not so bad.

    In short, city maintained streets aren't fabulous, but state maintained streets are hopeless.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 1:59 PM  

  • The decrease in cut-through traffic along Markham has been quite significant, though i don't know if it's greater or lesser than the decrease in traffic overall in town.

    I can say tht in the past 2 hours i've seen half a dozen cars attempt to climb the hill on eastbound Markham approaching Avondale, and give up because it's too steep and icy. One of 'em had to be towed out of my street 'cause they had no idea how to drive on the ice.

    By Blogger Barry, at 2:13 PM  

  • When we had 20 inches in 2000, my neighbor was an assistant city manager and he told me that Durham did not own a snow plow. I'd be surprised if the City owns one now. They used front end loaders to clear the streets in 2000 and you can still see the scars in the street. I grew up here and my take on things is that it is a big improvement that someone actually puts brine down. That never happened when I was growing up. Durham relies on the same method of street clearing as it always has - melting. Tax dollars can't afford to keep a plow in storage for years at a time I guess.

    By Blogger Sarah, at 2:14 PM  

  • Some of those lumps in the road *are* big brown turds. I saw a woman walking her dog down the middle of W. Markham yesterday afternoon, and she made no effort to remove her dog's contribution to the landscape.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:28 PM  

  • From City of Durham press release - 1/29/10:

    The Street Maintenance Division of the City’s Department of Public Works has crews on stand-by, ready to use seven salt-and-sand trucks to specifically target icy “hot spots” as needed. In addition, the department has outfitted 30 trucks with plows and salt-and-sand spreaders and is ready to move into 12-hour shifts to clear the streets as soon as necessary. Depending on the duration and magnitude of this weather event, staff will continue to operate in this mode throughout the weekend.

    . . .

    The City’s plan of action for clearing or reducing hazards on city streets is prioritized in the following order:
    • Bridges and overpasses throughout the city.
    • Major arterial streets within the city.
    • Streets to essential health facilities, police and fire stations and critical community facilities.
    • Routes to two City fuel sites.
    • Streets within the central business district.
    • Clear access to Durham Public Schools.
    • All residential areas with priority initially to passage of emergency vehicles and then to all traffic.

    By Blogger Barry, at 3:14 PM  

  • From a City of Durham press release - 1/31/10:
    Due to unsafe road conditions, solid waste collection has been suspended for Monday collection customers. Solid Waste management officials will determine tomorrow if conditions will allow for Tuesday collection for those customers. In addition, there will be no bulky item nor yard waste collection for Tuesday. Make up days will be determined and announced on Monday or Tuesday.

    "Safety of our employees and the public, especially on the secondary roads, is our primary concern," Robert Williams, Interim Director of Solid Waste Management said. "As soon as we verify that secondary streets are safe to travel, we will inform customers of our collection schedule for this week."

    Streets are improving, but near freezing temperatures are delaying the melting process. The Street Maintenance Division of Public Works currently has 22 trucks spreading salt and pushing snow from streets, and has cleared the main thoroughfares at least 8 times since the winter weather began. They estimate that they have salted or cleared as much as possible, about 60 percent of the secondary roads.

    While the primary focus has been on the major thoroughfares in the city, officials estimate that they will begin work on residential streets on Monday.

    No explanation given on the discrepancy between the 37 trucks cited in Friday's release, and the 22 mentioned today. Also, let me be first to say the driving a snow plow down a secondary street is not the same thing as clearing that street. I haven't seen a main thoroughfare that i would describe as cleared yet (admittedly, my travels have been narrow), nor a secondary street that has been visited by a plow.

    By Blogger Barry, at 4:30 PM  

  • I decided to brave the streets today to go to Lowe's then to Kroger. Got onto Roxboro and headed North. Most of the way, both lanes were not cleared. Where you could see both lanes, one was narrow or had lots of snow/ice. Most people drove sensibly, but a few fools tailgated or drove too fast, or too close as they passed.

    While I got the electrical and plumbing parts I needed, next time I'll just wait for a while longer.

    On the other hand, the neighborhood streets, including Roxboro and Mangum, sure are nice and quiet. I walked my dogs right down the middle of the street without a care in the world. The lack of both speeding cars, and noise from loud banging/clanking trucks was refreshing.

    By Blogger Steve Graff, at 10:45 PM  

  • I don't think a truck with a blade attached to the front counts as a snow plow.

    By Blogger Sarah, at 8:19 AM  

  • What else would it count as?

    By Blogger Barry, at 9:10 AM  

  • Aw heck, you guys. Can ya really blame the city for deciding it's not really worth it to mothball dozens of pieces of expensive equipment that will only be used 3 times a decade?

    IMO, the main source of difficulty with driving cars around town the past few days was not what was underneath the tires but the skills (or lack thereof) of the person behind the steering wheel...

    But then again, if you haven't had much experience driving (or walking, or skiing, or sledding) on slippery stuff, you're gonna look kinda silly if you try!

    By Blogger Toby, at 9:13 PM  

  • Three times a decade?

    I don't think so.

    The deal is that we have the equipment. Using it properly is not rocket science.

    By Blogger Barry, at 9:18 PM  

  • One other thing - i've been noticing that street striping all over town is being scraped off the street in millions of bright yellow crumbs - is this a function of our modified snow plows, non-winter ready striping, or poor plowing? can't imagine it's going to get replaced anytime soon...

    By Blogger andy, at 6:44 AM  

  • Thanks for posting the press release about the priority streets. I think bus routes should be added to that list. In my neighborhood (Walltown), Englewood was plowed (not a bus route), but Green St was not (Route 11). Dumb, dumb, dumb. I will be writing the city about this one.

    By Blogger Erik, at 9:49 AM  

  • Englewood was plowed?

    Christ, that's not even close to being a thoroughfare.

    By Blogger Barry, at 9:59 AM  

  • This was a good suggestion that you put up here...dude…..hope that it benefits all the ones who land up here. 

    Edmonton Snow Removal

    By Blogger Ahmad Abdullah, at 2:37 AM  

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