We are in the GRIPS of yet another winter storm (9″ of snow forecast for the area), and based on the pandelerium on the television news, we are all going to die. OK, strike that, we are just all going to be MISERABLE. My husband keeps shouting, “WHITE DEATH! WHITE DEATH!” every time Katie Horner comes on.
Yes, winter weather is serious stuff. As we saw last year, our general approach to the white stuff is “Meh, it’ll melt!” and we saw how well that didn’t work. Including last week’s snowpocalypse, which resulted in snow days and now we have streets that weren’t cleared well last week, packed down with large patches of ice, getting a new layer of snowfall today and tonight. But really, the solution is pretty damned simple. Our mayor pledged we’d have more snowplowing this year, and I recognize it’s a costly expense (other cities recommend contracting for clearing by the inch, vs. by time, it’s amazing how much faster it gets done…) and I think we need to take it one step further.
We need Snow Emergency rules. I lived with them for five years in Minneapolis, and it is remarkably efficient. The city has to declare a Snow Emergency by a fixed time (it’s 6 pm there), and that is The Beginning of Teh Rulez. In this day and age with internet and mobile, it’s even EASIER. Trust me. I can’t tell you how many times we’d ask each other, “OK, what day is it?” because rules apply by day and how you can park on the city streets. And for those without a garage or off-street parking, don’t panic. It works. I only had my own parking space for a year, and all the other years, I was bright enough to consult a calendar, determine odd house numbers from even, and know which side of the street to park on. So here’s how it works in Minneapolis, where, I think, we can all agree: they know snow.
Snow Emergency Declared, 6pm. From 9 pm to 8 am the next day, no parking on “Snow Emergency Routes”. These would be the biggest main streets in the city. All side streets allow parking on either side.
Day 2, 8am-8pm – no parking on EVEN-NUMBERED sides of the streets. You can park on the odd-numbered side, and on either sides of the Emergency Routes. (God bless ’em, Minneapolis even has a web page to HELP YOU DETERMINE what side of the street is even or odd.) After a street is fully plowed, you may park there (even if it’s still before 8pm.)
Day 3, 8am-8pm – Guess what. Now you move your car to the other side of the street, the EVEN side. If you were smart, you did this the night before after the street got plowed, so you don’t wake up in a panic screaming “OMFG what time IS IT and did I MOVE the car????” (Why no, I never did that, what do you mean?)
Now, I also know we don’t have the elite Black Ops of Snow Removal here in the city. It might even require an extra day or two for our Snow Emergency Time Frame to allow total street clearing. But I can tell you this: it would solve the issue of our side streets getting plowed in a half-assed manner or not at all. My BFF’s street can barely allow a car down it because people are parking on both sides, let alone a snowplow. So now they’re completely ice-packed, treacherous, and who knows when it will all melt. And I think we’ve had a couple winters now that show we do need some sort of actionable plan. Yeah, people will bitch. But they’ll bitch anyway, about the roads, about the snow, whatever. Grow up, grab your balls, and force yourself to pay attention for a few days for the greater good.
And if you really wanna rebel and don’t follow the rules, it means you get a ticket and possibly towed – revenue generated for the city. Win fucking Win.
Any mayoral candidate who seizes on this concept and incorporates it into their platform will have my vote! Well….maybe. I did fall for the no-more-steel-plates platform, and that cost us a lot of moolah in racial slur settlements. Probably enough to have bought us a couple more snowplows.