February 03, 2007

Mayor Hickenlooper Vows To Plow Denver--A Month Later

**Update--"Send In The Plows": An Ode To Mayor Hickenlooper

Where the hell was this "contingency" plan a month ago (video), Mayor Hickenblooper?
The city of Denver cried uncle Friday and announced that it's no longer just relying on its own crews to clear the ice and snow from residential streets -- it's hiring contractors.

. . .

Half of the residential streets still have not been plowed.

On Friday, Mayor John Hickenlooper said he's heard from many the residents who have vented their frustrations.

"We're going to call in additional contractors, both with manpower and equipment," he said.

He outlined a strategy that is narrowly focused, so instead of clearing the snow and ice from curb to curb on all of the residential streets, the snowplow crews will focus on clearing a 10- to 12-foot lane.

. . .

"We don't control the weather. The weather deals the card, and we play the hand," Hickenlooper said.
We are calling Hickenlooper's bluff. Denver's plowing plan--not the plows or operators themselves, who have worked hard over the last six weeks--was abominable. Relying on January thaw that never came, Denver and other suburbs allowed snow, packed from two consecutive storms, to turn into sheets of ice inches deep. The ruts followed, and the minimal melting from meager sunlight only served to harden the ice even more. So much for a plan.

Even main streets cleared after the storm saw so much excess snow piled up on the curbs and sidewalks that many are still impassable as of early February. North facing areas shaded by buildings are especially encrusted by excess snow and ice.

The mayor does not control the weather--however, the city does control the planning and execution of snow and ice removal, and should have drawn up plans to hire independent contractors and gather more equipment weeks ago, and at a far smaller cost. The weather may eventually warm, but Hickenlooper's missteps may stick around longer than the ice he has so far failed to clear.

Cross posted at Political Avalanche


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