Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Snow Job

I heard the Mayor saying on CBC this morning that he is considering adding $3 million dollars to the snow clearing budget. In days gone by that would translate into about a 3% tax increase.

This is in reaction to the current snow clearing issue. I think it is unrealistic for people to think that the city could clear snow much faster in these circumstances. The snow plows were clearing the same arteries over and over again as the storm raged on. They are now clearing and hauling tons of snow out of the city. It is a laborious job. It takes time.

I might support the increase if it meant residential streets would get cleared periodically and the snow hauled away during the winter season. I live on a bus route so eventually the plow comes down my street and creates a massive snow bank making it impossible to park or get your trash can out for pick-up. Eventually people come out and start shoveling the snow back on the road so they can access the street. Then we wait with bated breath for the street flooding in spring. Its actually kind of funny in an absurd way.

We live in Saskatchewan. We get a couple of bad snow storms a year. If you lived in Eastern Canada you might be dealing with freezing rain storms and loss of power for days. If you lived in California you'd get torrential rain storms and mudslides. Get the drift?

Mother Nature can be a bitch sometimes. And if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy. Get on with it.


  1. So just to make this clear to all those critics of my comments in previous posts of this blog.


    A city like ours should always be looking at how to build a better beast to handle snow clearing. For the Mayor to just say we need more money to get it done sooner is a cop out. The people I have talked too about this issue all agree the subject is why do other cities do a better job and quicker than Saskatoon and it isn't all about the money. They want real time data of what is being cleared and what is scheduled next on a street by street basis.

    Why isn't the system automated enough to have people knowledgeable of what is going on. Is the City scared people will see how little is being completed in a day?

    To asked people to stay off snow routes with their cars for what is now going on 5 days to a week because that is how long they take to get to every street on the snow routes is unconscionable. Why not break the Priority streets into more subdivisions. Example, not all Priority 2 streets are created equal. You can't tell me Louise a #2 is equal to Preston also a #2.

    And can anyone explain how Wiggins Ave gets cleared before Taylor,Preston, Cumberland, Clarence, etc, etc, etc!and even before some #1 Priority streets?

  2. Grizz - I concede. Every now and then you are right. Mea culpa. I just get tired listening to the weather whiners. And even the thought of spending big dollars on equipment and manpower that will get used a couple of times a year drives me nuts.

  3. The Grizz is right (and I've disputed him/her before) in that there are some major structural issues in this city's operations, and snow removal is one of them.

    But I also wonder just how much money is the city dumping into subsidizing driving through snow clearing, road maintenance, and $300 million bridges, and how efficiently are these dollars being spent?

  4. This city is dramatically behind the times. With the available technology in today's day and age communication of road conditions should not be so behind the times.

    Rather than spend 3 million on more equipment spend a fraction on post on the city website updated cleaning schedules. This is no different than garbage pick up and would require minimal work. Once a plan has been formulated post it online, imaging allows the city to post updated (even with real time) cleared roads, roads which will have machines on them currently, and planned days for clearing secondary roads. A citizen can then simply log on see what route has been cleared, see what roads to avoid if possible (both due to conditions and to stay out of plows way as it works, increasing efficiency), and inform citizens of when to have their streets cleared for plows coming through.

    This is a once a year problem, and dumping an additional 3 million a year at the problem is a waste of money. Use technology and communication to relay the message and plan to the citizens. It will reduce the stress on city crews as they work as well as alleviate stress from commuters seeking a safe route.

    I have had to park a block from my place as it is on the list of streets to be cleared when the city has time. I don't mind moving it when they come, but at least give me a reasonable time frame not for the next week, as Grizz pointed out.

    Furthermore, this technology can be expanded for use in the other months of the year to relay information on construction work being done (and subsequent road closures), street cleaners and garbage pick up.

    The technology is there and the cost of utilizing it is substantially smaller than throwing money at the problem. I can live with snowy streets (and adapt my driving/outdoor activities) and construction, what I ask for is simply communication of the plan so that I can adjust accordingly.

    What is unacceptable is having to park a block from my house as I wait for a snowplow to come (whenever it may be), trying to plan to stay on main arteries (ie. Taylor) then seeing they aren't cleared more than 24 hours, and having no sense of how I can help the city workers do the job more effectively (I admit to having been caught twice now on roads where the plow operator seemed rather unhappy of my presence).

    Use less money smarter Atch!!!

  5. Grizz has something.
    One of the big issues that no one want to speak of is that Gaston Gordeau who was in charge of snow clearing actually learned from Jan 10, 2007 has retired and there is no one in charge who actually knows what they are doing

  6. Congratulations Grizz...good to see you occassionally have a view of your own!


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