As the Twin Cities and the Minnesota area recover from a “winter snow event,” it is time to pay tribute to those who make the streets and sidewalks of Minnesota interesting.
- First:We live in Minnesota. Why, oh why, do people forget how to drive on snow and ice annually? This is a life skill, much like not mixing whites and colors in the hot water wash.I’m looking at YOU, Mr. I Have Four Wheel Drive So Imma Gonna Tailgate A Ford Escort And Then Spin Out Into a Bus Shelter. I salute those who know their cars and approach driving them in these conditions with care and appropriate speed.
- Second: Snow events tell us important things about municipal budgets, or possibly simply competence and scope of responsibility. A fine example is MN-65, Central Avenue, from just north of downtown Minneapolis and up through Anoka County.Certainly, it goes from being an urban thoroughfare and high street of commerce to being unsafe at any speed, but with a posted speed limit of 55. But it also demonstrates variances in snow removal. As one crosses from Minneapolis to Columbia Heights, the adopted step-sibling of most of Anoka County, there is an appreciable improvement in the snow removal. As one crosses from Columbia Heights to Fridley, angels emerge from the heaven and clear most of the snow and ice debris from the road. There are clear lines of improvement that map to city and county boundaries.
Third: St. Paul, while their snow emergency rules are a bit saner than Minneapolis’ — and their total responsibility is less, both in total street mileage, and because St. Paul doesn’t touch alleyways — has an awfully suspicious way of clearing streets in nice neighborhoods first. By which I mean: Dayton’s Bluff is still a mess today. Rumor suggests Minneapolis leaves things a mess with less regard for neighborhood property values.
- Fourth: For all wondering how to increase Northstar utilization, the answer is clear: Dump snow everywhere. Monday’s ridership of the Northstar was up 25% over a typical weekday morning. This may not be an executable piece of public policy, unfortunately, unless someone’s got an in with Snow Miser.
And, a few special call outs:
- To the two guys on bikes, one on the road, one on the sidewalk trying to cross, who collided: Ooops. And to street guy, I appreciate that bikes belong on roads, but where you were, frankly, the sidewalks were cleaner and the snow drifts provided protection from the cars drifting all over the road. I grant you permission to still be hardcore and use the sidewalk.
- To the minivan I saw take out a bus shelter: oops.
- To the hundreds of businesses, municipal workers, and residential property owners who have been clearing their sidewalks such that in many places the sidewalks are nicer than the streets: You are awesome. Have some egg nog. Spike it with the good stuff.
How’s the snow removal in your neighborhood?