Tonight I made a stop at the city’s open house about their response to the mega snow storm of 08. There were 9 city departments there with 4-6 city employees for each one. But attendance by citizens was very light. City staff must have outnumbered them by 10 to 1.
Here’s a few things I learned:
- Metro is working with the city to prioritize bus routes for plowing in the next storm. They said their goals are to make sure that big routes will have service, including the #48 and some of the east/west routes in the CD. They expect to have a preliminary plan in place by the end of the month.
- The “when-will-my-bus-arrive” problem does not have a near-term solution for storms. The current system doesn’t work when buses are taken off of their normal routes, and a new GPS-enabled bus tracking system is at least a couple of years off.
- The city’s transportation department is now getting out to repair streets that were damaged in the storm. Sweepers are out to pick up the sand & gravel, pot-hole rangers are working (you can make requests on the city’s website), and crews are starting to re-stripe major arterials. However, they couldn’t say if 23rd Ave was on the list or when it might be taken care of.
- The emergency planning department couldn’t provide any concrete rules about where emergency shelters might be available in cases where there’s a lengthy power outage during cold weather. Generally, community centers can be shelters, but they can’t say which ones would be certain for any given area. Their advice: have a hand-crank-powered radio and tune in for updates in an emergency
- The mayor said he was there to hear citizens concerns and make sure they were taken into account as the city reworks its plans for snow. He said that the city has no intention of spending money on new plows or other equipment, but would be looking to line up some private contractors that could be brought in whenever things got really bad again.
There was also this cool graph that showed the amount of snow in various parts of they city over the course of the storm: