Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ugly Streets

 After a weekend of a mixture of rain and ice and a little amount of snow, we were faced with iced over streets and sidewalks throughout the city.

Most of us who do not live on an emergency snow route or secondary snow route are faced with some pretty ugly street conditions. Ice inches thick and ruts seem to be our plight until Mother Nature brings us sun and some warmer weather. I read with interest the article in today's Argus Leader titled "Ice Relief, Unevenly Applied."

The city applied "hot stuff" on the emergency snow routes and secondary snow routes and did no plowing this go around.  If you are lucky enough to live on secondary snow route, then you are not facing what the majority of Sioux Falls residents are facing regarding extremely icy conditions and uneven, treacherous road conditions. Lucky for the mayor that he lives on a secondary snow route as evidenced by the comment in the article in the paper.

Secondary snow routes mainly are residential streets that allow neighborhoods to connect to emergency routes. Mayor Mike Huether’s street in southeastern Sioux Falls, for example, is designated a secondary snow route because there is only one way in and out to the homes there, said Galynn Huber, street fleet manager for the city of Sioux Falls.

I thought it was interesting that the mayor's street is in one of the city's most exclusive neighborhoods tucked into the rolling hills in southeastern Sioux Falls. It is a little neighborhood of very large lots and not densely populated. Nor is it a neighborhood that has a lot of traffic other than the traffic of the elite leaving their homes during the day. It is not what I remembered as meeting the definition of a secondary snow route. 

So I looked up the map of emergency snow routes and secondary snow routes. Sure enough, the street directly servicing the mayor's house is designated a secondary snow route. Not the entire loop just the part of the loop that his house is located on.

When I looked at the map, I could see a consistency in designated secondary snow routes throughout the city. These were streets that were thoroughfares, not on the scale of Minnesota Ave or Western Ave or Cliff Ave, but are streets that spill into an emergency snow route. The mayor's home is in an exclusive neighborhood where the road is built to service the big lots and homes built there. There is no major thoroughfare in the mayor's little neighborhood. The only reason to drive on those streets in his immediate neighborhood is to get to one of those big houses. His little residential street spills into another secondary route, not an emergency snow route.

Unevenly applied? I think so.  I hope his neighbors thank him for the nice streets during the winter. As for me, I will just travel very slowly and carefully bouncing along the icy ruts, hoping Mother Nature shows pity on me and my neighbors and takes care of my street the old natural way - a slow melt.