Monday, January 12, 2009

Snow Removal

Late yesterday (Sunday) morning, I finally went outside to shovel the snow from my driveway, sidewalks, and the stretch of road in front of my driveway. This is my second winter on this narrow one-way street, and my experience so far has led me to expect very little from the city plows. The road is usually heavily sanded, and the plows will come through a few times (depending on how much snow there is) removing only a straight one-lane swath of snow (leaving, of course, about a one-inch thick layer of snow/salt/sand that eventually melts). Typically the city assigns the larger plows to my street, so there really is a limit to what the driver can do. Last winter, there was one snowstorm in which a smaller plow did my street, including the sides where there weren't parked cars, greatly reducing the amount of shoveling I had to do.

Yesterday I had just about finished all my shoveling when the snow plow started back down my street. I stopped shoveling to wait for the plow to pass by, since I knew it would push more snow my way. To my surprise, the plow parked on the side of the street and the driver got out and started chatting with me. Since he'd been plowing for about 20 hours at that point, I'm sure he needed to get out and stretch while he smoked a cigarette.

The plow driver (I can't remember his name; I'm terrible at remembering names, even when I try) was preparing to plow the side of the street, from the corner to my driveway, and wanted my input on where to put the pile. There already was a mountain of snow just past my driveway and a little snow hill just before my driveway. We agreed that there really wasn't enough room to make the mountain bigger, so the little would get to grow instead. He then regaled me with tales of all the angry people he encounters while plowing, including one who was so hostile the police had to get involved. We also chatted about the overall logistical problems of plowing such a narrow street, and I confirmed for him that most of the parked cars are gone during the week. I had the general impression that maybe a smaller plow might swing by today.

Today I was distracted from my computer by the repeated beeping sound of a truck backing up. I looked out the window and was astonished to see a giant city wheel loader REALLY removing the snow from my street! Fantastic! It made a little more shoveling work for me and my neighbor across the street, but the snow mountains are gone and everyone is going to have a much easier time parking their cars.

Thank you public works department!

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