City forgives: Charlottesville delays sidewalk enforcement

news-sidewalk-marketmcguffeyUnwilling to battle the snow left unshoveled by artists, a pedestrian braves Market Street at 1:21pm Tuesday.
PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER

"Wouldn't it be great," says pedestrian advocate Kevin Cox, "if people could say, 'I got to work because the sidewalks are clear and the buses are running."

Alas, what's bad for Cox is good news for those who got a pass from the Charlottesville ordinance that normally punishes those who haven't cleared the sidewalks along their property.

The list of apparent no-shovelers included such notables as film director and homeless center creator Tom Shadyac, Albemarle Administrator Bob Tucker, whose County Office Building sidewalks were strewn with snow, City Public Works Director Judy Mueller, who oversees the snow-blocked city streets and medians, and even the artists of McGuffey Art Center–- originally lauded online but who left their Market Street sidewalk untouched.

And that's just what was obvious Tuesday, December 22 on a jaunt from the Downtown Mall to Bodo's Bagel Bakery, which also seems to belong on the list.

City code requires all property owners to shovel adjoining sidewalks by noon after a snowfall, and Cox–- well-known for his own multi-mile by-foot commute between the Woolen Mills and the UVA Medical Center–- finds it ironic that the law has been officially forgiven, despite near-constant sunshine and above-freezing temperatures since the flakes quit falling.

"There's no excuse," says Cox. "The weather has been perfect for shoveling snow."

Moreover, Cox says, citizens need pedestrianism now more than ever, especially as the City–- which normally operates 16 transit routes–- has tacitly admitted that it failed to clear it own streets by curtailing bus service as late as Tuesday to just two routes: the Free Trolley, which plys a short route between out-of-session UVA and the #7 bus to Fashion Square mall.

"Why can't more of them travel?" asks Cox. "This is the time to make sure that the alternatives exist."

City spokesperson Ric Barrick replies that the trolley and Route 7 combine to carry about two-thirds of all transit capacity. (As of Wednesday, December 23, bus Route 8 was added.)

Bodo's manager Scott Smith expressed regret that something he normally gets accomplished got pushed back in the turmoil. That's also Albemarle County's excuse.

"Basically, we've been sequencing the snow removal, says spokeswoman Lee Catlin. "All weekend, we were working to keep fire and police headquarters open on 5th Street."

A crew has begun working at the County Office Building at McIntire and Preston, says Catlin. "We expect it to be clear today," she says Tuesday afternoon. (Indeed, it got cleared before 8am Wednesday.)

As for McGuffey, artist Cynthia Burke says the artists did a little shoveling but notes, "The City is still in charge of the grounds."

The City's Barrick announced via press release that Charlottesville would start enforcing the sidewalk-clearing ordinance at noon on Wednesday, December 23. But he told a reporter that City action would come as warnings, not warrants.

Cox says he's tired of excuses.

"Hey, I know it was two feet of snow," says Cox. "I shoveled two feet of snow."

On January 5, Cox says, "Many major sidewalks and curb ramps in town are still blocked by large piles of snow put there by snowplows." He beseeches the city to enforce the ordinance, 18 days after the snowstorm.

The number of sidewalk scofflaws who have been fined: zero, according to public works director Judith Mueller, who told City Council January 4 that the city did issue warnings.

Cox added that he hopes Charlottesville will denote snow emergency routes–- such as Main, Emmet, and Market Streets; Barracks Road; and Preston and Cherry Avenues–- thoroughfares important enough that City keeps their sidewalks open.

"On a dead-end cul-de-sac with 12 houses," says Cox, "it doesn't matter. But if they had snow emergency routes, people could walk to work or to Reid's [supermarket] to get groceries."

"I think that makes a lot of sense," says Mayor Dave Norris. "I think that's an excellent suggestion."

–story updated at 1:24pm Wednesday with response from Barrick, new idea from Cox, and confirmation that the County finally cleared its sidewalks –story updated again at 2:38pm Sunday, December 27 with response from mayor

–updated Sunday, January 3 with minor clarifying details

–updated Tuesday, January 5

71 comments

I think a large part of the problem was that no one was prepared for a snow of this type, as it had been 13 years(1996) since one like it had occurred. Just didnt believe it could happen.
One thing I'd like to address is the sidewalk issue. I think most residents did a good job clearing their walks- and as someone pointed out there are lots of people physically incapable of shovelling snow. Everyone knows of the danger of heart attack from this activity. I think Kevin Cox's comments were uncalled for.
But what I find really infuriating is that the city itself has piled snow on sidewalks. The sidewalk by Maplewood Cemetery is still impassable. And there are numerous others in my neighborhood downtown. It is not uncommon to be walking up a clear, dry sidewalk and come to the curb by the street to find it blocked by a wall of snow. Common sense would seem to dictate you don't block walks or driveways with piles of snow. It may not be possible to not block cars parked on the street.
On New Year's Day I hiked from home downtown to Pantops Shopping Center via High St. All the sidewalks were fine save one, that at a vacant building . The only obstacles were these huge walls of snow blocking passage and forcing one to walk in the street.

Hollow Boy,
I don't want anybody to hurt themselves shoveling snow. There are good reasons that some people should stay inside and leave the shoveling to others. Still, many localities get their streets and sidewalks cleared and they don't force the sick, disabled and elderly to kill themselves doing it. There's no excuse for leaving sidewalks and curb ramps covered with snow days and now weeks after the snow fell.

On Monday morning after the snow stopped I walked across town and saw many long stretches of cleared sidewalk. The sidewalk in front of the Amtrak station was clear. The sidewalks on the Drewary Brown Bridge were covered with snow that quickly compacted into ice. Other long stretches of cleared sidewalk were made inacessible by roadblocks of snow pushed from streets and private parking lots and driveways. Ablebodied pedestrians were forced out into traffic and in fact still, three weeks later must walk into traffic because of huge roadblocks of snow. People with mobility and visual impairements cannot access the cleared portions because of piles of snow across the sidewalks and on top of the curb ramps.

When Judy Mueller gave the snow removal report at the recent City Council meeting she said that the city had nowhere else to put the snow but on the sidewalks. That was true in some cases. In order to get streets clear snow had to be pushed onto sidewalks. That should have been a temporary step in cleaning up. In many spots though, there were obvious alternative locations for the snow, sometimes just a few feet away. In other cases snow was pushed onto sidewalks and curb ramps temporarily and then removed soon after that. City plows pushed snow onto the sidewalks around the Ridge/West Main intersection. Then they returned a day or two later and removed some of it from the sidewalks around the Lewis and Clark staue. But a large pile on top of the curb ramp at South and Ridge was left for weeks and only removed yesterday. Midway Manor is at that corner and is full of people with a variety of mobility and visual impairments. The curb ramp at the corner of 7th and Market that leads up to the City Hall Annex was left covered for weeks even though all the adjacent sidewalks were cleared and city crews removed piles of snow from the city employees parking lot across the street.

Cordially,
Kevin Cox

We were in Maryland this weekend and drove back Monday. The roads were 100% clear until we'll hit Albemarle county. We got stuck in the snow twice only blocks from our house in Charlottesville.

You can't shovel a sidewalk when you keep waiting for the plow that never comes. Where are the plows? It seems people are hiring private companies or friends to plow their driveways and streets, but why isn't the city doing the same?

It's just backwards that the city can fine people for not shoveling when they haven't even plowed more than once. I hope the next city council meeting is packed to address the issue of snow preparedness.

Can't or won't... can somebody get me some tissues please? I agree that it is crazy to fine people for not shoveling sidewalks when the city and county can't get it done themselves, but that's just C-ville/Albemarle politics, rules and regs.... do as I say not as I do. Let's not define ourselves by the same code as our elected officials impose.

if they fine you,dont pay. if they tell you to clear it. tell them PLOW MY DARN STREET AND THEN ILL SHOVEL MY SIDEWALK FOR HOBO'S TO FALL ASLEEP ON.

Sounds like a bunch of crap to me. The city always expects others to do things that they don't. On 8th Street in Chville the sidewalk outside of the rear entrance to City Hall hasn't been done. The majority of the time I saw trucks riding with their blades up...oh ...but don't be fooled the more prominant areas some of them got taken care of...the city is a joke just like the police force with approx. 9 blk officers in an area where the demographic makeup is like 30 percent black...??? go figure ...have you heard about them kicking in a wrong apartment door in Hardy Drive a few weeks ago and the officers beat up a 75 year old man... someone really needs to do something with the city and Gary O...

Our road OLD Lynchburg rd, Southern Albemarle was cleared again tonight prior to about 8PM.

It made a world of difference.

I notice today prior to 5Pm most of the city sidewalks are yet to be shoveled.

I wish the city would enforce the fines.

Most snow events I see and hear snow plows routinely but this time around they came mostly after 12PM. I think the first time our road was plowed was early Monday morning.

I understand that all politicians are now formulating a promise that snow will never be allowed to fall here again due to global warming, climate change and decree.............."change you can believe in.."

Walked Rugby Road today, guess the frats are waiting for it to melt. Had to dodge cars while walking in the road due to icy covered sidewalks.

I have never known this NOT to be the case in the past when we have had heavy snows.

I guess it takes more than feel-good positions on social issues to run a city well.

Early January and still some sidewalks are not shoveled - how about some fines ?

Check the Code, not only can you be fined, you can be JAILED for up to 12 months for not having your sidewalk clear.

hear, hear Danica. The city would be FOOLISH to enforce this law when the streets are so poorly maintained.

Not to say that Kevin Cox isn't right. When I had to shovel out my car, I borrowed a shovel from the house where I parked. I shoveled half their walk both as a favor and because I had to to get to my car. Now I regret not shoveling the other half of their sidewalk.

To think that citizens could get fined for not shoveling when the city cannot provide the basic service of plowing the streets strikes me as the height of unfairness. Charlottesville should do better before punishing her citizenry.

If the kids were in school all the buses would be running

jim s, I speak German, French, Arabic, and Hebrew. I have a fairly good understanding of Latin although I'm still learning it and I'm hardly fluent. I also have a master's degree in English composition although my bachelors degree was only for a dual major in math and physics.

You're right, hillbillies like me do get hung up on things like making our sentences have subjects. We insist on on both proper punctuation and spelling too. Maybe your forward looking "new millennium" speak is just to fast for me to handle. Like the following:

".Bet you couldn’t get through cause the answering machine was still on the the people who are supposed to represent you where hamming it up for the TV news readers.Man"

A more likely explanation would be that you are just a hapless marooon, which is what I'm betting... I'm sure that other local weekly publication would love to print your thoughts on their "rant" page, where it belongs.

"marooon" Is this a color or a fool?

Most streets in Fry's Spring don't have sidewalks, so I'm glad they got a front-end loader over here last night, and at least pushed some snow around; piled it where sidewalks would be, if we had them, so if you meet a car walking on our streets there's nowhere to go but into the snowbank.

OLR I just went down Old Lynchburg Road and it looked fine. There was 2 feet of snow, where is it supposed to go? Try driving in Forest Lakes or in some of the subdivisions in the County.

Difference is there are fewer cars coming at you if you're walking in county subdivisions. And I wasn't referring to Old Lynchburg Rd, but the other side streets. Not saying the county is any better, but in all the past storms I can remember, the plows were out early and often, and we had sand and salt to deal with all the ice now on the roads, not this time.

CC Spoken just like one of C-Ville upper crusted self serving locals.With all you education Id bet you never worked a day in your life (except for the family winery). You still don't get it do you ? Just get in your Volvo can drive off into the sunset !

Well it would be pretty hypocritical for the city to fine people for sidewalks when they can't even clear the streets. I haven't even SEEN a single city plow (well not one that was actually plowing). I think in my neighborhood, the streets are clear because of a combination of being driven over/natural melting.

But certain businesses on The Corner have done a really terrible disservice by not clearing the walks at all. I'm thinking of a certain former billiards bar.

Interesting. Several years ago an officer showed up at my front door saying a neighbor had complained that I hadn't shoveled the walk. It had been a very light snow, it was in the 50's, and it all would soon be gone but I went out and tried to shovel anyway. I know who called. About a month later we had a big snow when this person was at the ACC Tournament and his walk wasn't shoveled. I was tempted to call the cops on him but decided not to stoop to his level. Fortunately he is no longer in the neighborhood.

This is a tough issue. I shovel my walk all the time and agree with all those who say that people should shovel their walks. On the other hand some elderly folks can't do it or afford to pay for it. I am blessed to have wonderful friends and neighbors. I was out of town when it snowed. They shoveled my front walk which is 300 feet long and then shoveled a path out to my mother's house (90 years old) which is another 100 yards. Two football fields! How do we take care of those people who can't shovel and don't have wonderful friends & neighbors but crack down on individuals and businesses that can shovel their walks but don't.

I saw one snow plow today during the 3 hours I spent downtown. It had its blade up. And you want to what? increase my taxes!

I sure hope the elderly and disabled get out a clear those sidewalks before they get tazed . Oh and a big NO to snowball fights , I hear you get the gun pointed at ya for that now days .

:) Dakota

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I have never seen anything like these streets in my life. They have plows why aren't they using them? Why are they not clearing the streets? Whatever that mixture is they are laying on the streets didn't work. This is absolutely insane and I feel sorry for the already strapped retailers who have lost customers because of the city's inability to clear the streets.

Oh don't forget Albemarle county either. Atrocious.

I cant understand why Rt29 from the Greene county line into Albermarle county was so bad. Greene did a wonderful job of clearing the roads but Albermarle sucked. Whats up with Albermarle?

I see on the CTS web site that once again most of the busses are not running on Wednesday. I can understand them not being operational over the weekend but this is four days after the storm. Unlike city employees, many of us do not get paid if we don't go to work. It is almost a joke that there is a bus to Fashion Square Mall so people can shop - how do they expect people to get to the # 7? Exactly who makes this type of crappy decision ?

Sure hope the City gets fined, for any street that isn't cleared, by noon tomorrow.

im moving out of this dumb city. it takes 40+ years to build a road,a week+ to do such a simple job to plow the streets,a horrible job of maintaining the streets they DO plow,and it takes a hour for Emergency Responders to respond to a call on a DRY day. let alone a snow'y one. and the "city council" wants to raise our taxes?!?!?!?! ill pay when i see a snow plow come down my street.

You dont wait untill the snow stops falling and cars start to drive on it and pack it down till you start to plow! They need to have a game plan ahead of time. What drivers will cover what area. Then you begin soon after the snow begins then you continue to clear your assigned area, more than one time. Then there isnt 6 inches of packed down snow/ice that you idiots cant even plow. So this melts/freezes/and melts again for the entire week. Get a brain Virginia. People in other parts of the country get snow all the time and know how to work it out. If you are clueless then call one of those states and ask them how they do it.

Kim are you single by chance?

I’ll give everyone a couple more ââ?¬Å?Big Name” shoveling scofflaws: How about the Charlottesville City Schools and the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library System. At 5:30 p.m. this afternoon, neither Venable School nor the Gordon Avenue Library had their sidewalks shoveled. Both of these institutions received large amounts of taxpayer money from the citizens of Charlottesville, yet these same institutions cannot be responsible for providing a basic level of responsibly for the safety of those same taxpayers. That’s ridiculous.

What’s worst is that the Gordon Avenue Library had the time, energy and resources to plow their parking lot and shovel the walkways leading up to and from their parking lot, but the sidewalk that runs the length of the property remains unshoveled. So, anyone walking to the Library is forced to walk in the street. The story is similar at Venable. The parking lot is plowed, but the sidewalk remains unshoveled. This is all very disappointing.

The real question here is why does pedestrian safety take a back seat with City government? Not all areas of the City receive equal benefit when it comes to pedestrian safety, and the concept of delayed enforcement of City Code when it comes to sidewalk shoveling is laughable. This section of Code is there for a reason, so that pedestrians aren’t force to dangerously walk in the street. The City has been extremely lucky that no pedestrians have been struck thus far, but why wasn’t the Code enforced as it was written? That’s the real question here. Why are pedestrians forced into dangerous situation with less than full enforcement of existing City laws?

Hey all,

Assuming you're relatively healthy, you really should have your sidewalk cleared at this stage. Try please, before someone gets run over.

But man, has the plowing been awful. It would be so easy to clear some of these roads mid-day, but it never seems to happen.

There is simply no excuse for what happened on Friday evening. Where were the trucks when the snow started falling? I did not see a single one on Ivy Road. Even if there was not enough snow to start plowing, they should have been out aggressively spreading sand, salt, or whatever abrasives are used these days. I was out today, still no trucks. Ice and snow covered areas, and still no plowing or sand -- how many days has it been now?

I'm kind of with Frank on this one

Remember when you had the chance to keep about $7.5 million of City's funds from being wasted repaving the Downtown Mall and you didn't think it was worth your time to speak up? Remember when you didn't bother to go out and vote for a breath of fresh air on City Council and let the City spend another fortune suing Peter Van der Linde, $115.5 million to add an additional 180 units of public housing (http://tinyurl.com/publicHousingCost), and so on, and so on?

Just think what's going to happen to funds for stuff like snow clearing when we waste another fortune on a reservoir and a ridiculous parkway so a few already rich developers can get richer. When those developers will do once you've paid to accommodate their dream subdivisions, will be to build more houses for even more people who don't have a clue about driving in the snow.

No matter how much funding for snow removal is cut though, you can rest assured that those developers will still get the roads to their homes plowed before yours gets done.

It's easy to register to vote and pretty easy to go do it when the time comes if you aren't off on another diversion by then.

You all are a bunch of shirt lifting school girls. Get off the net and shovel some sidewalks.

Day Four: Few buses running, people unable to walk (on city maintained sidewalks), streets impassable, and they wonder why there are so many homeless, well if businesses shut down and lay-off workers there will be more. Citizens need to rise up and demand better.

I tried to shovel, leaving it for a minute to move my car, found it gone. Went yesterday to several shovel stores, no luck.

I say that the law should read: "All citizens must have their sidwalks shoveld within 24 hours of the city having all of its sidewalks shoveled"

The city should as a matter of course have an army of scofflaws who were sentenced to community service on call for occasions like this where they go and shovel all the public sidewalks, schools, librarys and in front of houses of elderly residents. That is TRUE community service.

The city and county did a poor job and I hope the Hook does a timeline article with in depth interviews about who decided what when and for what reason. It should include the cost of sand and salt they had to buy in the middle of a storm and why there were not enough private contractors on call.

The goverment could also work with homeowner associations to give them an "allowance" towards taking care of their own roads with private contractors.

Of course we know they are a little busy these days with all the green roofs and apologizing to dead people.

The whiners that annoy me are the "I see trucks going by with their plows in the air" people. Are these city or county trucks? I see lots of work trucks going by their plow in the air, but they are not government trucks.

Do you expect a private company with a plowing business to just plow the whole way to wherever their paying job is? Plowing beats the snot out of equipment. Should landscapers on their way to work mow everyone's lawn on the way?

If you need your sidewalks cleared call Troy

434- 326-6361

being from buffalo where 2 feet of snow give you a 1/2 delay in getting anyplace. the politicians in this area should be term limited out(voted out) From the city down to HOAs they all suck at what they do,think only in the present and cow-town to all the rich land barons in town. World clash city! this is a larger town anyplace else.Has anyone tried to contact a city county or state official about this .Bet you couldn't get through cause the answering machine was still on the the people who are supposed to represent you where hamming it up for the TV news readers.Man on Tuesday i went to pick up my kids at daycare traveled down the 250 buy-pass and what did i see a crew removing snow from the sidewalks the border 250 when just a 1/2 mile ahead the street was down to one lane .GIVE ME A BREAK THIS IS 2009 GET SOME PEOPLE IN OFFICE THAT THINK IN THIS MILLENIUM NOT 1809 .THIS HISTORICAL STUFF HAS GONE TO FAR LOOK TO THE FUTURE NOT THE FRIGGIN PAST

TROY,CONTACT CITY HALL THEY NEED THE HELP

City folks should have elected Bob Fenwick

So city resident that's why there is such a homeless problem! Snow done it! Guess that's why Miami doesn't have the same problem.

And jim s, I'm sure whatever you wrote was very informative. Could you translate that to English for the rest of us?

Snowjob, that's a good idea about the community service thing. Get the inmates out there, shoveling, utilizing their jail terms effectively.

The only problem I could forsee with that is it ups the chances for escape. Maybe that's why you only see those guys doing outdoor work along highways, with a heavily armed officer or two watching over them. Criminals wandering around the 'burbs with shovels and ice picks may not be such a wise idea.....

"(1) Class 1 misdemeanor: By a fine of not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00), or by confinement in jail for not more than twelve (12) months, or by both such fine and confinement. " Obviously local government considers this a serious problem. But this regime obviously doesn't feel it's THAT much of problem. Not a peep from our Council. I guess they're dealing with Tibet. Oh, that's right, that was yesterday's issue.

Wiating for plows and salt -

My road never saw a plow until today. I got back from a trip, had to dig my car out from udner 2 feeet of snow, and found absolutely no place to park it.

But..I didn't get stuck in the roads. Were they bad? yeah, but practice your driving a bit more.

Because I haven't put winter tyres on yet, my car did get stuck for a bit where I had to ram it into a snow bank. but oh well, it took only a few moments to dig a small spot in front of each drive wheel, and it came out pretty easily. Gee, and for the record, that's a RWD car. GASP.

Yeah, the city really has botched this, and the county, which is why I don't really want to hand them any project like planning a water pipeline.

@Caesonia, would you like for the city to design the McIntire interchange? Haha.

CC I was trying to vent .I don't think you got it.Maybe if you spoke something beside "hillbilly"and read "slowly" you may get more out of it.The point being the government around here just "SUCKS" cant do anything without 10 meetings 6 votes 5 redo's then another vote.All that in just 5 years DA

I'm not anti-christian , but our city street is still impassable as are man in the neighborhood have been repeatedly plowed and are at 80% on the blackometer scale. While the others are at 0%. Sure makes walking near to impossible, since most streets in our neighborhood don't have sidewalks, so there are none to shovel, and the streets are ice or slush with ice underneath. Guess the City priority list is major thoroughfares and streets with churches.

I’m not anti-christian, but our city street is still impassable as are many in the neighborhood, while the streets with churches have been repeatedly plowed, and are at 80% on the blackometer scale, while the others are at 0%. Sure makes walking near to impossible, since most streets in our neighborhood don’t have sidewalks, so there are none to shovel, and the streets are ice or slush with ice underneath. Guess the City priority list is major thoroughfares and streets with churches.

I only have one thing to say...get some STEEL blades on the plows for next time and oh yeah, they are supposed to be placed on the ROAD. I can't tell you how many PW trucks I saw just driving around. Rubber blades? Probably some kind of natural, ecofriendly rubber no doubt. Dumbazzes...even my snow shovel has a STEEL blade for gawd sakes. Back in 96 they put a boatload of snow in dump trucks and put it in the lot at Washington Park. No doubt a politically incorrect thing to do now I suppose. Sure did help clear the streets though.

CVilleEye, I think Judy Mueller tried to put a positive spin on things, and it was good she dispelled rumors like the one about the City running out of salt. But I got the feeling she mostly depended on what she was told, that she likely did not go around and look at the streets firsthand.
My street near MJH first saw a snowplow Wednesday after the snow (Dec 23). Fortunately it was passable after a fashion as people driving vehicles with 4WD or something had broken a path.
But I think the crux of the problem is that no one-not the city, not the county, not the citizenry- was really prepared for this snow , this much, after not having any for so many years. That probably accounted for all the people who left work too late and got stranded in their cars on the road-thank goodnness no lives were lost.
Kevin, we may agree more than we disagree on some points. Glad you realize that not every individual is capable of shovelling snow safely, and certainly should not be penalized. And agreed that there is no excuse for businesses' sidewalks , and those of the city itself, not to be cleared in a timely manner.
I mentioned walking down High St toward Free Bridge Jan. 1. Did it again yesterday(Jan 8) still the same walls of snow forcing pedestrians onto the street. Have a feeling though that the one by Charlottesville Wrecker was not the city's doing, but of whoever plowed for the towtruck business.
What needs to be done now is assess the lessons learned from how this snow was handled, how to start plowing in a more timely fashion, how not to create problems with where the snow is moved, etc.
Perhaps we need not to look to Buffalo, but closer to home, to mountain counties who get more snow than we do.
Several years back I had occcasion to visit Highland County a couple days after a quite substantial snowfall(maybe not 20 inches) and found the roads in great shape. I was told that the county knew they faced this problem and were prepared to deal with it quickly so people could travel safely.
It was reported that Albemarle County roads were in the worst shape of any in the state several days after the snowfall.The most obvious answer is VDOT budget cuts, but I wonder if that is the whole explanation.

In the past few years snow has quickly melted. That didn't happen this time. I suspect that the city gambled on warm weather saving a pile of money by doing the job of snow removal.

In June I read that because of El Nino our part of the country could expect more precipitation than usual and normal temperatures. The past few years we've seen less precipitation and warmer temperatures. We got exactly what the forecast warned us we would get and we will probably get more.

I don't deny that many people were not prepared. Individuals lack of preparation did cause them to get in the way of road clearing. Judy Mueller mentioned the need to better publicize the warnings of an incoming snowstorm. Many citizens were prepared though, as the work that did get done demonstrated. I think it's fair to expect the local governments to be as well prepared as many people are.

The bottom line is the GOVERNMENT LET THE CITIZINS DOWN AGAIN !!PERIOD END OF STORY .Weather its a flood a hurricane a forest fire or a snow storm. Its the blind leading the blind.Lets vote out the professional politicians, the people with their own agendas and get someone who'll do what it takes no matter what.that the way this thing was set up now lets get back to basic government for the people by the people .

Wow Steve you sound pretty informed. Ever push snow before I wonder? Yea the new fangled rubber blades for plow are supposed to last longer and be easier on surfaces. Well they are both of those things but not so good on compacted snow and ice. The real kicker is that the rubber edges cost three times as much as the steel blades!

I'd just like to say...the City of Charlottesville gets a big "F" on snow plowing and removal. It's a sad state of affairs out there..still.

I'd like to thank the ass who shoveled out his car & piled 5ft of snow on the sidewalk in front of my house. I spent over 3 hours on Christmas day shoveling the sidewalk in front of my house & the next door house (since it's for sale & no one currently lives there) so the sidewalk would be clear since there is a lot of pedestrian traffic where I live. Shoveling snow ONTO the sidewalk should be a fine in itself! Happy New Year!

@PV, Christmas break.

Yeah, the 250 Exit going onto Locust Ave heading towards pantops is downright dangerous, with only one lane open still. I almost was hit by someone head on, and honestly, I think both of us were surprised. It's like, you've gone down there through habit so many times, you don't expect to be in the same lane as someone else.

The city needs to hit that with a road scraper.

Steve said "[b]ack in 96 they put a boatload of snow in dump trucks and put it in the lot at Washington Park."

Exactly right. Only front end loaders and dump trucks can remove two feet of snow, not a snow plow that struggles to shove it to the side. The plow trundled on down Market St. once in mid-storm, and called the street "plowed," when all they had done was pack down four inches of snow so it hardened into ice canyons after the other sixteen inches fell. I stopped a city plow crew in mid-street and asked them to clear a handicap space for my neighbor who has MS: the driver promised to do it that night. A week later the space remains uncleared.

This was not a failure of City Council though. It was a failure of management. Our City Manager has been here over 30 years. At this point he just goes through the motions. Somebody phones him and says "all the streets are plowed" and he doesn't bother to go outside and look. A replacement City Manager is due, and overdue.

Every time I see your name, I think about your father. When he retired the city had to hire several people to keep up with the workload he did singlehandedly. I miss watching the old guard at work, Richard Barrick and Downing Smith included.

@Hollowboy, what are your opinions on Judy Mueller's snow report given to Council at its meeting last Monday? If you didn't hear it, here's the link http://charlottesville.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2 Click on Video for 01/04/2009 then Jump To "Snow Report."

Hollow Boy,
Many people were prepared for this storm. The forecast was accurate and early enough and we had fair warning. The evidence that many were prepared is in the work that was quickly done when the snow stopped falling. As you noted,"I think most residents did a good job clearing their walks-" They did a good job becausee they were prepared. Some were prepared with private contractors on call to clear their parking lots and driveways and they did the job promptly. The problem was that in many cases they put the snow on top of the sidewalks. I cannot excuse the city. They should have been prepared. There was ample warning. I wonder what else they aren't prepared for.

Cordially,
Kevin Cox

I think part of the problem was that some people were skeptical it was going to be this bad. After all, there had been forecasts of heacy snowfalls in recent years that did not occur. In other words, some saw it as the media "crying wolf" once again. Only this time we did get hammered.
I wonder what the forecast this week for a couple inches that didn't pan out will mean in terms of taking storm warnings seriously.
I really do think that many people thought because we had not had a major snow event in tears that it wouldnt happen.They were the ones not prepared, who might have ended up stuck on the road. or realizing they did not own a snow shovel, not having needed one for several winters.