Roughly a week later, there’s still snow in Denver. Lots of it. That’s not too surprising. What I didn’t expect was that so much of it would still be on the roads. After about 5 minutes on the road back from DIA yesterday, it was apparent that there are still major snow problems here. You’d think that a city with significant experience in blizzards would be better equipped to handle them, but apparently not.
Several of the major residential thoroughfares, including 6th Avenue, Brighton Blvd, and Colorado Blvd are still not completely plowed. You’ll be driving along in the right lane and suddenly run into an unplowed stretch. Have fun with that. The little cul de sac that my building is on downtown? Virtually unplowed, with foot high ruts remaining – and it’s just 50 yards deep. And if you live on a residential side street, like the house I was at birthday party at last night? Hope you don’t mind not being plowed a week later.
And while I commend the mayor for having the sense to not scapegoat the plow crews for the debacle – it’s not their fault they’re short-staffed and lacking the necessary resources, the fact remains that the storm is likely to have had a profound economic impact on area businesses (poor Frontier had to cancel on a reported 70,000 customers) and that occurred on his watch. The problem is non-trivial, to be sure, in that it’s difficult to Just-In-Time resource for unpredictable events like blizzards, but something needs to be done. I’m not knowledgeable enough to judge whether the city could or should have prepared better, nor to determine where the blame – if any – should be applied. As a Denver resident, however, I’d rate the city’s handling of the blizzard as poor to quite poor. Tiny Georgetown, ME, my alternate home town, does a better job with snow than has Denver. Yes, it’s 26 inches of snow, but that’s not unheard of even on the East Coast. This city remains concussed from last week’s blow, and the knockout may be on the way.
What we’re going to do if the current ruts and channels get buried in another foot plus of snow is beyond me. I’ve got four wheel drive, but not enough ground clearance to get around so I’ll likely be housebound unless I throw on the shoes and hike up to my buddy’s place. Which, frankly, is fine by me. But what about the elderly? Those less mobile? Here’s hoping the city’s learned a bit from the events of the past week.
Given the potential for another whiteout, however, it would seem that if I want to get up to the mountains for some snowshoeing any time soon, today’s the day. Who knows when I’ll be able to get out of my garage next?