Friday, January 3, 2014

City Snow Removal in Bethlehem needs an examination

Another snow day over much of the nation. This morning, we braved the cold temps to clear 5 inches of snow. Steve bought a snow blower and a new car battery to prepare for it. He was so excited about his new toy, he cleared four sidewalks, three street accesses, and two driveways. He also had to clear the space on the street where we park the second car because the city blow only passed though once, and in the middle of the street.

When we lived in Rochester, NY we used to complain about alternate street parking. Until it snowed. If you want the plows to be able to clear all the way to the curb, the cars have to be off that side of the street.

Jan 18, 2011
Here in Bethlehem, people dig out their cars parked on the street only to have someone else park in them before they get home from work. Some folks illegally place lawn chairs or garbage cans in their spot like a "place saver." I've seen lots of broken plastic chairs.

Bethlehem does require citizens to move cars off streets in order for the street cleaner to sweep the gutters. This program ends on October 31st. Why not modify this in a similar fashion to other cities who use alternate street parking plans specifically designed for a city-wide coordinated snow removal?

Check this out: the City of Rochester, New York makes announcements on media broadcasts announcing special [pre-determined] snow clearance plans.

This plan applies whenever snowfall or weather conditions require that residential streets be plowed. Alternate side of street parking regulations must be followed throughout residential areas*. The generally posted pattern for alternate side parking is: Parking on the even-numbered side of the street only until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Parking on odd-numbered side only on Sunday and until 7:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

No parking is allowed on Snow Emergency Routes, as the City concentrates plowing efforts to keep all Snow Emergency Routes open and clear.

This plan allows special effort to open snow clogged traffic lanes on residential streets. Parking on announced residential streets is prohibited, as residential streets are cleared from curb-to-curb.

*NOTE: Where there are no posted parking restrictions on your street, follow regular alternate side of the street parking rules when a Plowing Day Parking Restriction is announced. If you live on a street where there is one-side-only parking or where restrictions differ from regular alternate side parking patterns, the City will announce special instructions through the media.

The Bethlehem Parking Authority or other parking lots could also make this a revenue generator. If they have overnight garage parking, or if there are cleared parking lots (like Martin Tower) with bus shuttle serves to neighborhoods for people to leave their cars during snow removal time, we might just have more drivable streets. Maybe.

No cars were parked on our quiet residential street, but the city plows left 10 feet of snow on the street to the curb - where cars should be parking so that other cars can drive around them. Every neighbor able to do so shoveled the snow off the street to allow room for parked cars. 

And that's another thing people do in this city that drives me nuts. There are some yahoos with snow blowers that but the snow back into the street. When we lived in Bowling Green, Ohio - you'd get a ticket for doing that. See? And if your property was on a corner of the block, you were responsible for clearing a path to the street so pedestrians could cross at the corner. To walk my dog in the neighborhood, I have to negotiate drive ways and walk in the street to get around corners.

I should also mention other idiots who don't completely clear the snow off their cars before they drive faster than 25 MPH. There's been too many accidents caused by flying ice from car roofs.

People. We live in the snow belt. It's always snowed in Bethlehem, PA. It will probably snow again.

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