Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Morning After

As I am writing this post the sound of snow blowers can be heard all around me. In my neighborhood, the guy with the biggest snow blower is out helping every neighbor he can get to. Jack is a good man.

Surprisingly, our street was pretty clear this morning at 9:00 AM so after clearing out our drive, I took a spin down to Ellicott City to check things out. Once again, one of the few merchants open was the Little French Market. I stopped in for a coffee with Amy. She has been serving coffee to storm weary patrons since The Big Kahuna first hit last Friday. She hasn’t been to her home in Clarksville in a week. K2, the owner of the Little French Market, put her up in her home on Church Street so she has been able to walk down and open up the shop. She’s been putting in some fairly long days.

“I can use the money,” she told me.

Of course the ones really putting in the hours are the snow removal crews. Most of the plow operators have putting in 18 hour days to try and stay on top of things. According to this story by Larry Carson in The Sun today, that is little consolation to residents who should actually know better like Angie Beltram.

"All I know is, our street is one of the last" to be plowed, Beltram said, though she hadn't fully explored the neighborhood. She paid $200 to a landscaping crew with a snow-blower to clean off her driveway. County officials said Beltram's belief is a common one after a heavy storm, except that of course, everyone can't be last.”

Ms Beltram of all people should know better since she once served on the county council.

The task facing county and state crews is daunting.

“Residents often don't know why a plow left a section undone. The truck might need gas, the plow might break, a parked car might block the way, or a plow might be called to help an ambulance, fire truck or police vehicle, which happened frequently at the height of the storm Saturday and Sunday. The truck drivers also may need rest. Irvin said the county provides cots and food at highway shops and tries to rest the 130 drivers periodically for 4 or 5 hours between shifts. Many returned home Monday night to rest up for the Tuesday night/Wednesday storm.”

In other words Angie, take a chill pill and stop whining.


Dave W said...

Made it in to work today. All the roads were in pretty good shape except for Broken Land Parkway, especially between Cradlerock and Snowden River Parkway. I would love to understand what on earth the county was thinking in that one location because even this morning, it is still barely one lane wide and to turn right into Patuxent Woods Business Park, you literally end up partially in the left-turn only lane to get on Snowden River Pkwy to get by the mountain of snow they left in the middle of the road.

Otherwise, I can't complain about the other roads I had to travel on.

lemon_sorbet said...

My husband and I could barely believe our eyes when we saw that our cul-de-sac in Hickory Ridge was plowed! I think this is the first time in a week that our road was truly clear and we were thrilled (aside from the fact that we will probably have to go to work tomorrow...)!

Dave W said...

Ahh, they finally fixed Broken Land Parkway this morning and opened up all three lanes....

PZGURU said...

Angie has a very legitimate complaint. It's not an insult to the plow crews in any way. It's a statement to the fact that the Director of DPW should have a better game plan in effect for big snowfall situations like this. It's a VERY dangerous situation when roads suddenly go from two lanes to one. I think highly unlikely that the reason is any of the reasons you suggested. I think it was a matter of poor planning, and poor execution.

Carroll County did an even worse job with our roads. I live on a main road and we didn't get plowed until 24 hours after the first blizzard ended. It would seem to me that it would have been much better for plows to be making rounds along the main roads, and even the secondary streets, DURING the storm (which lasted for almost 2 whole days), so that they were only plowing 10" - 12" at a time, instead of waiting until the storm was over and then trying to plow all 30" at once. I snowblowed my driveway twice during that first blizzard because I figured that waiting to do all of it at once would be more sluggish and difficult - and I was right. While my neighbors were struggling to get their snowblowers through 30 inches of snow, I was breezing through about 12" on my second go-around.

If I had more time to analyze things, I would try to figure out how many plows each county has, tabulate the miles of highways, major roads, and minor roads and figure out how long it would take to make the "circuit" during a snow storm. There's got to be a better method than what I saw in this region during/after these snow events.