We Need The 20-20 Vision of Hindsight for the 2010 Blizzard: Mayor Cohen Should Announce a Snow-Truth Commission ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We Need The 20-20 Vision of Hindsight for the 2010 Blizzard: Mayor Cohen Should Announce a Snow-Truth Commission

In a previous post, I directed readers to the mayor's blog www.mayorcohen.com where as of this morning, there were 52 comments, most of them negative, about city snowplowing operations. I also today took Senate President Mike Miller to task on this blog and On The Foerfront on 1430WNAV for openly criticizing our city and mayor in front of The Senate. But I can tell from his blog that the mayor is involved, working and trying to do a better job.

Can we try to put this into some perspective? Very few of us know the first thing about snowplowing or what equipment, budget, preparation or human power we have at our disposal. We can only imagine how hard so many city employees and contractors have worked. We can only imagine how much it is costing us. We don't know if things were planned out properly or if people were ready, but I for one, am willing to give our mayor and city officials the benefit of the doubt. Or so I was until yesterday when I went on Bay Ridge Avenue. That road is a snow emergency route from Sixth Street to Forest Drive. I was shocked, frustrated and angered that such an important city artery was hardly plowed. It was like a washboard. I joked that driving on it was like being in the outback, but it was our backyard. Even smaller roads were better cleared. I don't think there is any excuse.

Again, I don't know the full picture, but why was this important road such a mess? I am willing to give a lot of slack with secondary roads, cul de sacs, etc., but what was the reason for the horrible conditions on Bay Ridge Road? Yet everywhere else I went to get to a medical appointment, grocery store and other places, including shopping centers and private communities, were much better plowed that were our city's streets.

I think that in keeping with his promise to be more transparent and to make our city the best managed city in Maryland, that Mayor Cohen should announce today that he will hold a public hearing on the city's response to the Great Blizzard of 2010. He does not have to announce the date or place yet, but just say that he will be doing it.  My only plea to residents will be to please not make it a bitch session. State your case, offer some suggestions and then be seated.
Plowing through such a meeting for Mayor Cohen  might seem like a picnic compared to plowing through this blizzard--but I think he owes it to us. How about it Mayor Cohen???

Snow Emergency Streets can be found here. How do you think they rate?:

LISTEN TO CP Publisher Paul Foer on 1430WNAV at 8:15 every weekday morning or click on the WNAV icon to the right. READ CP Publisher Paul Foer's "The Ninth Ward" every Wednesday in The Capital.www.capitalonline.com
Join us for Sip N' Blogs each THURSDAY, 8-9 am at ZU Coffee, 934 Bay Ridge Road in the Giant Shopping Ctr.
February 11, County Executive Candidate Joanna Conti (weather permitting)
February 18, City Lobbyist Minor Carter
February 25, Judd Legum for Delegate, District 30


Anonymous said...

He had one after the December storm. Weren't you there?

Paul Foer said...

No I was not there. I was away. If that's the case, perhaps not much was learned. I cannot say. If you'll identify yourself and tell more, I'll publish it.

Anonymous said...

The presentation is on the city's website and I believe the whole thing is on COATV

Anastasia said...

The reason snowy roads get corrugated is because vehicles travel too fast for the snow to settle back down after the passage of the tire. The same washboarding happens with sand or even gravel.

With many vehicles traveling over snow in freezing temperatures, the corrugation will freeze up. Not all snowy roads washboard since the road isn't driven by many, fast vehicles. So, in a manner of speaking, the cause of the washboard roads is the fast drivers.

On the other hand, if the snowy road surface was quickly plowed, i.e. leveled, before "too many drivers 'sped' " over it, then the snowy road will not washboard.

What this all means is that the snowplowers could not get out to the fast-traveled road quicker than the 'speeding' vehicles.

"Speeding" means going faster than the snow can resettle. It does not refer to the legal speed limit. But, in my experience, washboarding happens on roads where vehicles do travel rather fast.

Bay Ridge Ave.'s washboarding was just another indicator that the plows could not get out fast enough to keep up with the falling snow or the drivers.

This was, by all measures, an overwhelming storm. A public hearing isn't necessary to discuss what went wrong. Let the pros do their job, learn from challenges, and develop a Plan B for the next big whooper.

Paul Foer said...

So, if I understand your concern, it's the fault of the drivers that a major route, Bayr Ridge Avenue got "washboarded"? And therefore the professionals did everything right and there is nothing for them to learn, so there is no need for a public hearing where citizens and government officials can talk with each other to figure out how to do "develop a Plan B" next time we have a snowstorm? IN other words, citizen input is not needed, but drivers simply have to go slower on the major snow emergency routes?

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