Monday, November 30, 2009

City sNOw Plowing Blues

The picture is our street last night.  It snowed the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.  It snowed again Thanksgiving night.  Today is Monday afternoon.  It's four days since the first snowfall and three days since the follow up snowfall.  That's about 96 hours since the Wednesday night snowfall.  The snow had stopped falling in our neighborhood when I got up Friday morning.  It's now after 3pm Monday, so it's at least 78 hours since the Thursday night snow fall.  Here's a truck having trouble outside our house Saturday night. 


From the Muni website, here's the Municipal "Plow-Out" . . . policy?  Target?  Rule of thumb?  I'm not sure what to call it. Typicality?

Snow Plowing and Removal

After a snowfall, Street Maintenance crews typically have snow plowed within 72 hours. This is referred to as a “Plow-Out”. As the snow is plowed, Street Maintenance crews begin removing and hauling the snow to designated storage sites.  This cycle will continue after every major snow fall.
Click on the following links to find your area on the Plow-Out Map, or to check the status of current Plow-Outs.
Snow Plow-Out Plans
Snow Plow Out Status Map (available during winter season only)

The snowfall wasn't particularly heavy and our street still has yet to be plowed.   Now it was Thanksgiving.  But that was Thursday, not Friday.  And the website does say:
During the winter season (October through May) Street Maintenance crews work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week providing snow plowing, snow removal, ice prevention and de-icing on Municipal maintained streets and sidewalks.
And I checked the Muni Snow Plow Status Map that shows (you can double click to enlarge it)

Well, I'm not sure this the snow plow status map.  It does say street-sweeping map. (I didn't catch that part in my screen shot.)  But it also says as of Monday, 30 November 2009, so I have to assume it isn't a street sweeping map.

As of 6am this morning, it looks like about half of Anchorage hadn't been cleared yet.  Their snow plow out plan has 1/3 done Day 1, 1/3 done Day 2, and 1/3 done Day 3.  Going on Day 4, they had done maybe 1/2.

The snow plow out plan says that my neighborhood is either due to get plowed the first day (Plan A) or the third day (Plan B) after it snows.  But I'm not really sure how to tell when it's Plan A or Plan B.

Anyway, I don't know why, I just know the city is behind their own schedule for plowing the streets.  I'm expected to have my car off the street until they plow.  With a one car garage and wife-gets-the-garage rule at our house, that isn't always easy.  If I could tell when they were going to plow it would be easier.  But the snow is so bad right now, I had trouble getting it across the street and onto a vacant space on my neighbor's property.  And you can see the truck in the video above.


  1. I don't even know where to start regarding my frustrations with the plowing(or lack thereof) here in Anchorage. It never fails to break my heart when I see someone less mobile than I am navigating the roads and covered sidewalks. It is shameful,really. Here in Airport Heights, our roads were fully cleared this afternoon. Still, a long wait for those riding their bikes, walking to work, or waiting at the bus stop.

  2. My neighborhood (in the "college village" subdivision) was plowed out Monday afternoon. I thought that was a ridiculously long wait for a plowing. It's not like it snowed 6" a day every day for 4 days. It's snowed on Thanksgiving, end of story.

    My experience in the past was snow on our street was cleared in 48 hours or less. Now it's 96 hours, I guess. I've not heard of staff or equipment or materials budget cuts within the division that does the plowing, but perhaps they've seen some cuts that weren't published?

    That, or it's the Sullivan Effect: "Take care of yourselves -- hire your own private plowing company! The nanny state isn't taking care of you anymore."

  3. Snow is politics in Anchorage. Every successive administration drives home its budgeting points with its execution. You say you want libraries and 48-hour response on plowing?

    Its a zero-sum game without new revenue. All the best.

  4. I haven't seen snow removal this poor since, well, since the Mayor Fink days. Why would Mayor Sully want to repeatedly be required say the City can't afford to remove this snow? (hint - sounds like he is laying some more groundwork for his sales tax plan.)

  5. About a month and a half ago I attended a luncheon at which Mayor Sully spoke, promising among many things that this year the Muni would be working to make the sidewalks passible during the winter months.

    I walk to work every morning from 27th and Spenard to Benson and A. Since the snow started falling the sidewalk conditions have gone from bad to worse to appalling. They are almost completely imapassable at this point and more often than not these days I find myself walking out in the streets. I take my life into my hands every dark morning and back home at night, negotiating insane burms, praying I don't slip and fall out into moving traffic, or walking on the side of the road in AM and PM rush hour traffic. It's ridiculous. Am I going to have to get splatted all over the road by some skidding car before anything meaningful gets done about it? Probably.

  6. Anon, you getting splatted probably won't change things. Hope you take the side streets. I find biking, even in the summer, side streets are much more pleasant.


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