Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowmageddon And The Three S's: Streets, Sidewalks and Schools

Musings on the recent snow event...

1.  According to Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto, the streets of Scott, Greentree, Carnegie and Mt. Lebanon put Pittsburgh's poorly-plowed streets to shame.  I happened to be on the South Side and in Lawrenceville last night and I know what Peduto is talking about -- East Carson Street, a main thoroughfare filled with restaurants and retail, was barely plowed and the snow plows that WERE driving along it had their plows up!  At one point, a truck dumped salt on the unplowed street and, well, I have to think using the plow first would have been a good idea.  While Butler Street in Lawrenceville was fairly well plowed, the streets just off it were a snow-addled mess.  Three cheers to our work crews here in Mt. Lebanon for doing such a terrific job!  They worked tirelessly all weekend and the results show.

2.  Two words for my fellow Mt. Lebanites:  ICE MELT.  Just a bit of snow-melting Melt, applied after you've shoveled your sidewalk, insures that any residue will not turn into ice.  I took a gaggle o' kids on a two-mile walk through town yesterday and it was a slippy-slidey affair.  Folks, I know we can do better!  And for those that can't, call your neighbors -- I'd bet they'd gladly share their Melt if it meant better sidewalks close by.  I've seen a lot of pulling together over the past several days and it's so heartening.

3.  Today (Tuesday) was the day to have school in session.  The snow stopped falling on Saturday and more isn't expected till later today.  Our streets are clear and the sidewalks are navigable, which means that most kids should've been able to get to school.  That said, I am aware that teachers and staff don't all live in Mt. Lebanon and some may drive in from Pittsburgh, which isn't all that driveable.  And yet, I balance that against the spectre of more snowfall through Wednesday and the prospect of losing this entire week of school (Friday is already a Teacher In-Service day).  That's a lot of snow make-up days on the horizon and it's still early February.

Oh well, it's starting to snow again...


  1. Sadly, I saw that the district was finally plowing the sidewalk along Cochran near the high school Tuesday afternoon; the neighborhood paths to the schools have certainly not been touched yet. And the nearby residents are certainly exhausted from clearing their own sidewalks and helping their neighbors. That may be one reason for the cancellation, frustrating as it is. And now there is no school on Wednesday - more snow tunnel creations and board games await!

  2. I think we must always start from the premise that our kids are going to be walking to school. That may be foolish on my part, but that's how our school system is set up. I just don't think walking to/from school is possible right now, especially for the K-5 set.
    The sidewalks around the schools in close proximity to the schools are only a small portion of the problem. For example, I drove through the intersection of Cedar and Cochran last night and a student crossing Cedar headed to the high school would have no place to go but into Cochran Rd. itself. That's simply no good.

    I suppose I'd rather miss a few days in Feb (in what was already a short week) and make them up in June, to know that everyone is getting there and home safely.

  3. The ten-day forecast for Pittsburgh at weather.com shows snow every single day! I wonder how they deal with circumstances like these in places like Minneapolis -- seriously!

  4. As someone who lived in Minnesota for many years, I am somewhat amused at the panic at Giant Eagle and irritation at some of the inconveniences that Mt. Lebanon residents complain about. As a point of information, downtown Minneapolis is a huge complex of buildings all connected to each other by covered walkways between the buildings. Once you are in one of the buildings, it is possible to walk all over the central city to office buildings, restaurants, hotels, shops and much more without ever going outside. My wife is from Hibbing, Minnesota, 200 miles north of Minneapolis, the center of the iron ore mining of the U.S. for many years. Hibbing normally is the coldest spot in the U.S., yes even colder than Alaska. Between Halloween and Easter, the high temperature is rarely above freezing. Between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, the temperature is rarely above 10 below zero. With temperatures lower than 40 below zero for weeks on end, the schools never closed. When we lived there, every car had a tank heater that one plugged into an electric outlet at night in order to heat the water in the car’s engine so that you could start the car in the morning. You put a red flag on your radio antenna on the car, and fully extended it. This was how cars at an intersection could see the adjacent car around the snow banks. We use to joke that Minnesota had two seasons, winter and the 4th of July. I am glad that we live here and not Minnesota. These few days of snow remind me how lucky we are.

  5. Dear Neighbors,

    Please help the Fire Dept. and dig out the Fire Hydrants on your street.
    All of our muscles are aching from shoveling our sidewalks, driveways and helping our neighbors dig out but Please take a few more minutes and dig out the Fire Hydrants on your street.
    Thank You!


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