Thanks to the “Polar Vortex” that has taken up residence in Northeast Ohio, there’s a lot of shoveling and snow plowing going on in Kent — and that inevitably leads to the question, “when will my street be plowed!”
The goal is sooner rather than later but the answer starts with understanding the City’s snow operations policies that guide our operations. No doubt everyone wants their street plowed ASAP but for a City our size we’ve got to be smart in our approach to clearing streets and public safety is the driving factor for where we start and where we end.
The City’s Snow Op’s Plan uses a time tested, safety protocol that prioritizes streets based on a number of risk factors. Put simply, the greater the risk, the sooner we get to that street.
The snow operations concentrate city crews on high traffic and high risk (hills, bridges, school routes) first. The crews will stay on those high priority streets as long as the rate of snowfall requires. Sometimes, like this past weekend, the crews may have to work the high priority streets all day.
When the supervisor thinks the high priority streets are reasonably safe, he will began to cycle the plow trucks to secondary collector streets. Once those streets have some degree of safety, the supervisor can begin releasing the trucks into neighborhood streets.
Often the crews only have time to run a single pass at first in the neighborhoods before having to get back to the secondary and primary streets to re-clear them and start over again due to continued snowfall.
In a typical storm event this cycling back and forth goes on for 48 hours. The goal is to get at least one pass down residential streets by the end of 48 hours but each storm is different and can affect those results.
The crews will also be diverted for accidents and other emergencies so the Snow Op’s supervisor has some discretion to adjust on the fly based on changing conditions and unexpected surprises which are common in snow emergencies.
The rule of thumb in Snow Op’s is work around the clock and hope for a little help from mother nature because the public is usually pretty understanding during the first snow storm as long as they see the trucks out there working — it’s the second or third back-to-back snow events that fray nerves, wear out the crews and trucks, and raise frustrations with a sense of being forgotten on a small neighborhood cul de sac.
The City appreciates everyone’s patience and I promise that we’ll keep pushing snow as fast as we can.