There has to be a better way.
As a driver, you no doubt know the struggle — navigating slush or snow covered streets and then having to park in a snowbank because you know the curb is somewhere under it.
It’s simply what we do on the prairies (okay, maybe not really in small towns who barely have sidewalks let alone curbs).
Unfortunately it seems many municipalities, especially early on in winter and then again in as spring starts to arrive, like to try and save money by having above zero temperatures attempt to melt it all away.
However, as was seen across the province as recently as last week, that tactic can lead to even more dangerous driving conditions by creating frozen mounds in the middle of the street, icy intersections and slushy clogged gutters.
It also doesn’t help that there are still drivers going around that believe it is still summer — thereby driving too fast — or going so slow and cautious that they are likely to be the cause of a collision.
While I understand the economics of letting nature do the work for them, but why not provide some assistance instead of focusing crews on putting up holiday light fixtures in November or other projects that can be put off for a few days.
Getting at the snow and ice on the road with removal equipment while it’s melting makes its easier to accomplish the ultimate goal, which is supposed to be getting to bare pavement, isn’t it?
Regrettably, municipal budgets and public works schedules are not in tune with that impractical goal, which has become a mantra for communities attempting to placate their residents after complaints about the poor or lack of snow removal.
What would be a common sense solution (I’m sure it exists in government somewhere) is watching weather forecasts and having a flex-schedule for some employees so that snow or freezing rain events can be mitigated as it happens, even on a weekend.
Granted, union agreements in many places complicate that. However, is watching the snow melting, then leaving it to create icy roads and only getting to it after people come back to work at 8 a.m. on Monday making people feel like the municipal government cares?
Or does it give the public the idea that money is the most important aspect of running the place?
Here’s another question that needs to be asked about snow removal, but it can also relate to other portions of municipal government operations.
Why do municipalities put themselves in the impossible position of promising a platinum standard only to wind up delivering at a pyrite level?
It has a lot to do with unrealistic expectations from residents along with the idea a municipality should reach to provide the highest level of service possible.
Too bad most communities either don’t, or can’t, devote the physical and financial resources necessary to accomplish either of those.
So why not, instead of listening to a constant stream of public complaints, temper the prospect of what they can expect to be done and when.
Might be nice, for a change, to have a municipality praised for getting done what it said it would within its financial means and on time.
Unless of course, the political and administrative portions of municipal government like dealing with complaints — said no one ever.
But that is…just an observation.