Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Snow Observations

A lesson from Leslie: "Snow is beautiful. It is wonderful to walk through, to play in, to enjoy. Yet it can be an obstruction to where you want to go, and needs to be cleared aside so that you can. Even so, we tend to welcome it when it returns".

Judging from the ruminations of Grand Junction natives on Facebo
ok and elsewhere, this is the largest snowfall in GJ since 1986 or 1987. The weather service says anywhere from 6 to 9 1/2 inches have fallen, but I shoveled at least a foot off of all the walks and driveway this morning.

Like many other things in life, it is beautiful and interesting - I especially enjoy the muffling of the ambient noise so that things not normally heard come through loud and clear, like a conversation between two women over half a block away, or the class bell at Grand Junction High School.

And as Leslie pointed out, snow like today's needs to be managed as much as it is enjoyed. Too much of it can be an impediment to the appropriate progress needed to be made in one's life. Clearing it aside allows you to continue on the path that you need to follow, while still being able to enjoy the experience and the beauty of the surroundings.

The applicability of this to other things going on in life was not lost on me. Time to continue to make sure that there remains a clear path to my life, and that I can manage the obstacles to it just like I did this morning with the walk and the driveway.

The weekend in Pittsburgh was quiet, enjoyable, and too short.
It was cold but pleasant, with a few flurries trying to make their presence known. Considering what happened to Pitt and the Steelers while I was there (the Pens lost too), it was still a nice time.

Another interesting thing I noted today was this excerpt from a Daily Sentinel breaking news story this morning:

Public works spokeswoman Kristin Winn said crews began spreading magnesium chloride Monday afternoon in preparation for the late-autumn storm. She said a second crew came on at midnight this morning and that all eight city snowplows will be out 24 hours a day. City crews are working alternating 12-hour shifts.

She said snow plow drivers are concentrating on clearing major arterial roads and feeder streets and high-priority locations like hospitals.

Still, as of 9:30 a.m., several major roads in town, including Broadway, Riverside Parkway, Ute and Pitkin avenues and Seventh Street, appeared as though they hadn’t been plowed in several hours or at all. Many streets had so much snow and slush piled up on them that lines marking the lanes and shoulders weren’t visible.

“We’ve got a snow plan that we follow, but eight snowplows with the size of the city we have is a challenge,” Winn said.

(City Solid Waste and Streets Manager Darren) Starr acknowledged crews haven’t yet plowed downtown streets because they don’t have anywhere to put the snow. He said it’s usually better to plow downtown at night when crews can pile the snow in the middle of the street, then scoop it into dump trucks and haul it off.

He said he doesn’t expect the city to plow residential streets for some time.

“We don’t have the resources to be doing that,” he said.

I admire the level of coordination and response that the City puts forward in dealing with something that in all honesty is an infrequent occurrence, that being a snowfall of this magnitude.
I also admire their candor in stating very matter-of-factly what the limitations are regarding the ability to get to residential streets cleared, along with the main arterials that help to keep traffic volumes moving across the entire valley.

As I look at my own un-plowed street at almost 2:30 in the afternoon, I am in full understanding of the City's limitations in providing complete snow removal service in the wake of the priorities for traffic movement and public safety.

However, I am more than a little concerned about how that level of service would be impacted by large swatches of established residential areas of unincorporated Mesa County being annexed by petition, especially when the City, with equivalent candor, states in no uncertain terms the budget issues they have.

When "eight snowplows with the size of the city we have is a challenge", how much more of a challenge will it be to plow newly-annexed sections of Fruitvale and Clifton, when financial constraints may prevent the procurement of additional equipment or personnel?

The mandatory annexations under the Persigo agreement are bad enough. Council should reject any annexation petition until the financial resources necessary to procure infrastructure to provide additional services are solidly available.

Enjoy the snow. Have a great day.

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