Thursday, February 7, 2008

Winter Weather

It has been a week full of rain, ice and snow.  I think our crew does an excellent job, but we are always looking to improve.  I would like to get feedback as to the roads and sidewalks.  How are we doing?  Where can we improve?  Do you have questions as to how we conduct our winter operations? 

Thanks for the input!
Gregg Mandsager,
City Manager


Judy said...

Mike Lavalla and I have had a few conversations about this topic recently, and I've also shared comments via Laura Dysktra about how things might be improved by better communication between the SAU and DPW.

I heard grumbling from school folks last Tues because sidewalks hadn't been plowed before children were walking to school after a 2 hour delay. I shared with both Mike and Laura my wondering as to whether DPW was one of the many automatically notified folks when school is cancelled or delayed. Although I didn't receive an answer, I'm guessing that the answer was "no". DPW should be on the SAU automatic notification list.

I also noticed last week that it may not always be possible for DPW to clear both roads and sidewalks in time for a 2 hour delay. The sidewalks hadn't been cleared on Tues because DPW crews were too busy with the roads. As a result of complaints received, the sidewalks were cleared on Thurs, but my road wasn't plowed until after 11. As a result of that observation I then shared with Laura that it might make sense for the SAU to consult DPW about the possibility of adequately clearing roads and sidewalks before making their decision about school cancellations/delays.

Additionally, I had a conversation with Mike over the past couple of days about the fact that cinders were spread on sidewalks that had up to a couple of inches of loose/lightly packed snow where I was walking. I'm sure those cinders were necessary in some spots, but certainly not there. I shared my concern about that unnecessary expense and asked whether something could be done to limit activities to where they are actually needed. Although I may be wrong, my feeling is that the people who are out there sanding and salting could be trusted with making some decisions about where these things are and are not necessary.

Mike has always been responsive to my comments and I know that he is interested in running DPW in an environmentally sensitive and cost effective way, and that he's working to improve the way things are done. I've often wondered, though, whether our standards are higher than they ought to be - and whose standards they are. Do residents really think it necessary to have our roads and sidewalks totally clear of snow and ice at all times, to pick up every twig from every side road after a windy day? My answer to these questions is "no" - especially in light of the number of potholes and slabs of missing pavement and other less than perfect areas in our streets and sidewalks. Others I talk to seem to agree, but it happens. Who makes these decisions? Might this be a question worthy of wider discussion?

Anonymous said...

We would like to see the Heater Rd plowed seems like its the last road to be plowed and there is a lot of traffic on that road in the early morning .

Anonymous said...

This is my first winter in Lebanon. I was impressed by how well the roads were taken care of. Good job.