Archive for Sunday, December 27, 2009

Roads finally cleared of snow

City crews used heavy equipment to remove snow near 10th and Vermont Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009. A several-day storm dumped more than 7 inches of snow on Lawrence.

City crews used heavy equipment to remove snow near 10th and Vermont Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009. A several-day storm dumped more than 7 inches of snow on Lawrence.

December 27, 2009, 12:10 p.m. Updated December 27, 2009, 12:00 a.m.


City plows making progress

Lawrence says it's getting a handle on a storm that posed problems for much of the weekend because of high winds and plentiful snowfall. Enlarge video

If he’d had three times the manpower and equipment, it would’ve been a cinch.

But Tom Orzulak, the city’s street division manager, said the snow event that crippled the city during the Christmas holiday weekend was the biggest he’d seen in his 20 years on the job.

“When you get something like this, you just can’t do it; you just don’t have enough manpower and equipment,” said Orzulak, who is in charge of the city’s snow removal duties. “It’s just been a challenge with the amount of snow that we’ve had.”

Orzulak said his crews have been working diligently to recover from the snow that began as a blizzard Thursday night, then tapered off and eventually ended Sunday morning.

Since Wednesday, Orzulak said 40 city workers have been working in two shifts around the clock to clear city streets, which cover 805 lane miles. The workers had to change or cancel their holiday plans to stay out on the streets.

High winds created large snowdrifts, 5 to 6 feet deep in some areas, making removal operations even more complicated, Orzulak said.

He said snowplow crews were running out of places to push the packed snow, and in some areas loaders were being used to take the snow elsewhere.

While more equipment and workers would’ve made the job easier, Orzulak said it wouldn’t be a wise investment for such a rare snow event, which produced about 9 inches of snowfall.

By this morning, Orzulak said, every street in the city should be plowed. The city’s snow policy is to clear arterial and collector streets first and then work to clear residential streets, he said.

“A lot of the streets aren’t pretty, but they’re passable and that’s basically our goal,” he said. Orzulak expected crews could continue working up to three more days clearing streets and treating the roads with a salt and sand mixture to help dissolve the ice underneath the snow and in case more snow falls Tuesday night, as forecast.

“(A system is) coming out and it’s heading this direction but it’s not nearly as potent as the last storm,” said Matt Elwell, 6News meteorologist.

Out in the county, road crews wrapped up their around-the-clock operations Sunday night, according to John Landon, a county snow supervisor. He said the 385 lane miles of road maintained by Douglas County were all bare and open for traffic.

Orzulak said the efforts are more difficult for the city, because crews are confined by the curbs, parked cars and numerous intersections.

A reminder about the city’s snow-shoveling policy: Property owners have 48 hours following the end of a snowfall to clear their sidewalks. The fine is $20.


captainzeep 8 years, 1 month ago

I've ventured across town a couple times and crews are doing a good job based on what I've seen. Thanks for putting in the long holiday hours!

wagonburner23 8 years, 1 month ago

I understand they want to be with their families for the holidays.

brewmaster 8 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps, we can blame it on the wind or the amount of snow or even the holiday, but the city's response to this snow event was poor.

Contrary to the claim of a few posters that the city response was good, even several of the main routes within the city are still questionable.

On Saturday evening for 30 minutes I followed a city "public works" pickup that had a plow and sand spreader. Around the area of Clinton and Kasold the truck simply drove around and did not plow and did not apply sand.

Jennifer Dropkin 8 years, 1 month ago

This just doesn't make any sense. You'd think that with a bum economy and a wish to keep Downtown Lawrence thriving the city would at the very least manage to clear Massachusetts Street of snow, not pile it up in the middle of the street.

Jennifer Dropkin 8 years, 1 month ago

Why are you so upset with the criticism, Jack? The city uses our money to run the city--that is my part, yours, too.

The city needs a better model for keeping the streets usable when we get snow because the model it uses now isn't working well enough, with the result that the last chance merchants had to keep their businesses going during a difficult economy has been wasted. If Downtown Lawrence is the best thing Lawrence has to draw shoppers and tourists, then the city should have paid more attention to keeping routes into and through Downtown Lawrence open and usable. This isn't the first time we've had snow or even blizzards. Other cities do a better job of keeping their cities moving during and after snowfalls, and our city government could benefit from looking at how they do it.

happy_go_lucky 8 years, 1 month ago

The city's repsonse to the snow was pathetic. Anyone who actually took part in driving and moving around on the days following the snow, can tell you just how poor a job they did.

In the first day of the cleaning(not the snow, because initially nothing was done) Lawrence's plows may have gone down busy streets, but when they did, they plowed closed numerous other streets. Down Kasold for instance, it wasn't bad(not good either) but they plowed the snow to the side, blocking EVERY street connected to Kasold. Myself, I got stuck at one of these streets, pushed myself out and two other cars.

The second wave of clearing, they plowed the side streets closed, but on 10th off Kasold for instance, they only plowed one side of the street, and left a 1 foot+ pile of snow down the middle, blocking people in their homes.

The day of the snow, I drove in Olathe, and KC. You could easily tell the quick response from their teams. In a 2 mile piece of 69, there were 4 sand trucks. As soon as you entered Douglas County on K-10 the roads IMMEDIATELY degraded. Then from K-10 when I entered Lawrence, there was actually NO work done. Snow was even across the street.

Anyone that think's the city did a good job cleaning, obviously never drove around. On 27th Street, a fairly major detour to 23rd. We had to dig/push multiple people out who got stuck. One person got so stuck and I was basically pushing/walking with their car for the majority of the street.

cabinetholder 8 years, 1 month ago

It is Sunday afternoon. Several streets in Prairie Meadows have not been plowed yet.

akt2 8 years, 1 month ago

I wonder how a sand truck takes a round a bout.

happy_go_lucky 8 years, 1 month ago

Ironic that your post is filled with said, "whiny attitude" is it not? Why don't you just leave Lawrence?

Jennifer Dropkin 8 years, 1 month ago

Jack, you make good points about both the tax base of the city and proliferation and configuration of streets. We might need more tax money to clear the streets more effectively, and yes, there are a lot more streets, and they are subdivisiony, cul-de-sacky, stay-out-of-my-neighborhood streets, so they are not easy to navigate even when the weather is good--which means that street maintenance for inclement weather should have been accounted for when the development of these neighborhoods was green-lighted by the city. Just another thing to consider.

Also, it doesn't look like the city is hauling any of the snow away when it sends the plows out. Is that right? If so, then any plowing that gets done just pushes the stuff around. Streets can take only so much of that. The main arteries might be opened, but then local feeders can get shut off, as a previous poster indicated.

Uhjh 8 years, 1 month ago

So how about the city post the number of plows operating versus time so we the taxpayers can see just how many plows were out on a particular day and time. They should have adequate computer records and computation should be easy. If not then the recordkeeping is woefully inadequate. Perhaps the model needs to be revisited. Saying 12 on and 12 off without knowing the number of units operating is not very informing.

Randall Barnes 8 years, 1 month ago


Jennifer Dropkin 8 years, 1 month ago

Rando, the city works on our behalf, so telling us not to criticize is to say that we should put up with whatever the city does or fails to do.

If the city has always piled snow along Massachusetts, I think the first question is, Does it have to be that way just because it has always been done that way?

The next question is, If it is best done that way, then how much time needs to pass before the city clears those piles out--especially if businesses are relying on getting customers in on what should be one of most economically important spending days of the year? Who's making the decisions and priorities? Anyone? For whom?

Jack, I feel your pain. I don't like Lawrence's western suburbs, either, and I don't live there; I criticize from another part of the city. And the criticism is just that--criticism. The city needs a better approach to clearing the streets when we have major snowfall. We had the same problems with the one major snowfall we had last winter, with resulting dangerous streets. The snowfalls may not happen all that often, but they still happen, and the city owes it to everyone who needs to get out and about safely to have a better response.

Bruce Bertsch 8 years, 1 month ago

Those who think that this is a good job have obviously never lived elsewhere where snow removal was a priority not an after thought. The piling of snaw in the middle of Mass is just stupid. Here's a the garbage trucks with snow plow blades to increase the response. Even NYC figured that one out.

3up3down 8 years, 1 month ago

If you have ever seen how they remove it from downtown, you would know they pile it in the middle and then come back with a huge front loaded snowblower and put it into dump trucks. Far more efficient than piling up in the parking stalls and letting mother nature melt it away. Don't like the snow removal, move to a warmer climate.

youngjayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Are we talking about the same city? Major Lawrence streets have been navigable since Friday. We've been from east to northwest (and back) several times without significant problems. Slow down, use some common sense and you'll do fine. Whiners - do you realize how unhappy you are? Life is too short! Stop and reflect on your negativity; change your habits and your life will improve. My goodness! I applaud and appreciate the city crews efforts during this holiday blizzard - thanks many times over!

1southernjayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Let me see if I've got this straight, Jackripper. Your perceived poor response time to the snow removal is due to the design of subdivisions on the west side of Iowa St?? And the mess out west is exactly where?? And your qualifications are what?? Just another whiney, class envy poser.

muddfoot55 8 years, 1 month ago

Yes there has always been snow put in the middle of downtown Mass. Think of it as added protection from on coming traffic. I'd rather see someone hit a snow bank instead of oncoming traffic.

How many of you complainers got ALL your cars out of the street to make it easier for the city crews? Thought so...

Do you want Emergency snow routes like KC? No parking, ticket if you are stuck without snow tires or chains?

There are only so many people to drive so many snow plows. People need to rest and so do machines. Pushiing snow is taxing on equipment. I think I would rather have slow and steady rather than wreckless and broken. Besides, the timing was perfect. Kids were out of school...didn't have to put them in harms way on a bus. Alot of businesses were closed for the's not like you had to navigate rush hour on a Monday morning.

So you couldn't get to where ever to exchange that gift that you didn't like, couldn't get to the "mall" to spend your Christmas money, missed the big sale.....personally I think alot of people HAD to spend time with their families and were not at all pleased about it.

Cassie Powell 8 years, 1 month ago

There are only so many people to drive so many snow plows...

that being said. leaving target today i saw 7 snow plows all in a row, going north on iowa. 7... why do they need 7 plows all together? why not split them up and get all the streets done???????

persevering_gal 8 years, 1 month ago

@ happy_go_lucky:

OK, the fact that the city HAS come and plowed the snow off of most streets, be thankful. Second, what do you expect when a snowplow plows the snow off the streets? It has to go somewhere. To put it in another truck to be transported would take far more time than it already takes.

I'm originally from up north, and when the plows come by our homes, we get our shovels out and unblock ourselves from our homes. That's just the way things work. If you need assistance, go get a neighbor to help you out or go move to Florida.

babygirl08 8 years, 1 month ago

I can not believe how many of you people are Whining about the roads. For starters, I was out and about last night until early this morning and had no problem getting around, of course I was In a relatives four wheel drive vehicle because my vehicle will not go in the stuff at all but, as you see, instead of complaining, I did what I had to do to get out and about if i had to. Also, was it just me or did anyone else see that it has been snowing much of the day and night still which in turn makes it difficult to clear the roads. Some places that were already cleared like 56 highway when I came in to town, was already covered when I came home due to the snow falling again however I must say that they were still passable and that KDOT was out there and on it too. I was behind three plows on my way home and for those of you who don't understand why they plow in groups like that, let me explain it to you. On wide roads like Iowa st and 6th street and 23rd street, as well as the highways like 50, 56, and 40, One plow will be as close to the middle of the road as possible then the next one will stagger out closer to the shoulder to catch the excess, then the last on will be right by the curb to catch the overflow from the other two.Which really makes sense, and also makes for quicker clearing. If you have ever seen them do this then maybe you might understand but then again maybe all you want to do is complain about everything. As for the piles of snow down the middle of downtown streets, They have always done it this way and those of you who are complaining about them not getting it cleared right away, well, I would bet you are the ones who are complaining about your roads not being plowed yet too so, which would you rather them do first? As for the removal of that snow, I was downtown about 8pm last night and there were 6 dump trucks lined up along 7th and kentucky streets waiting to do just that, be loaded to remove the snow so you will stop complaining. I know someone who clears snow for an individual company and they went out at 8pm friday night and worked until 3pm saturday afternoon then went home to catch some zzz's then had to be back at it last night. Which I may say that it was still blowing and snowing so most of the parking lots,ect, that they had already done, needed to be done again.

babygirl08 8 years, 1 month ago

So, what I say to you complainers is this, These people are doing the best they can under the circumstances we have. It has been years since we have seen snow like this so It's not going to be gone in one day. These people have families which they have had to be away from during the holiday to work for you. I understand that it is their job and they are getting paid but, that is beside the point. Have a little compassion for once in you life. Maybe if you think you know a better way it can be done or think you can do it better, then maybe you should go do their job and show us all how smart and brilliant you are and how much better of a job you can do! I for one would not want to do their job for nothing. Whatever you need to do so bad that you need to get out and about, find an alternative way to get their if you don't have a four wheel or all wheel drive vehicle or just maybe you should have planned better since of course we all knew they were forecasting this for a week before it even hit. I for one give all the workers, City, County, KDOT as well as the individual companies a "pat on the back' for your long, hard, tiring work.

brewmaster 8 years, 1 month ago

Thanks city street crews for making me stay at home with family and relatives on the holiday with no liquor, no wine, no beer, not even rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Talk about no compassion for your fellow man, how would any of you like to suffer like that.

workinghard 8 years, 1 month ago

I don't know but it seems to make sense that they would pile the snow up, like on Mass, and remove it later when they have more time after they have opened up roads so people could get around. Shouldn't the first priority be to get the side streets plowed so people could get to work rather than making things look nice? Can't say I know how it all works, but it would make sense to me. Hope you guys get some well deserved rest after this.

another_concerned_parent 8 years, 1 month ago

Brewmaster: How do you think the families of these workers felt having to spend Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day without their spouses, children or parents? Talk about no compassion for your fellow man. Thinking only of yourself, where is the holiday spirit in that? These workers gave up their family time to make sure that others could get home from work and to family gatherings.

angelmom 8 years, 1 month ago

Maybe everyone who thinks the city is doing such a crappy job, should get a job with the city and see if they can do a better job. I, for one think those who are out clearing our streets are doing a great job. Just think how fun it would be trying to make your way around all the cars parked on the street and the round-abouts. I know for a fact that the city crew were helping people get their cars out. Be happy for what you have, these guys are working around the clock to get roads clear,

PebblesFlintstone 8 years, 1 month ago

Since I asked and received several answers yesterday, I thought I'd do a report of my own.

As of this evening, Michigan Street to Sixth was very clear and only slippery in places. The only thing I would caution my fellow drivers is to watch out for the cars on the side of the street - some of them have so much snow on and around them that they were very hard to see in the the dark until I got right up on them.

Sixth to Mass was also fine, but watch the snow/slush piled up on the side of the street. Mass was pretty great until I passed South Park; it got a little slushy and was a tiny bit slick. I only went as far as Dillons so I don't know how well Mass picked back up further down.

Hope this is helpful info to those of you with Sunday nite/Monday morning commutes!

MissinLawrence 8 years, 1 month ago

I know someone who works for the street crew for the City of Lawrence, and I can say after speaking with him and some other crew members, that if you do not need to go out for an emergency STAY AT HOME!!! If you want to see results, keep yourself and family at home and allow the crew to do their job.

I applaud and thank all the crew members for what you do and thank you for being away from your families during this holiday season to help the City of Lawrence.

cowboy 8 years, 1 month ago

For all the anti whiners , I have not heard anyone criticize the city plow drivers , what is the issue is the scale of the effort. For the record my street has not seen a plow as yet. Probably won't at this stage. Having spent about 10 hours clearing our farm roads so we can feed our some 40 furry things the key is plowing it early ! Now its heavy , packed and the plows won't do any good. we'll just deal with it. The effort was entirely too small and the city deserves to be held accountable for it. Not everyone has a four wheel drive vehicle to bust out. This is one of the city's primary responsibilities and they do not deserve a pass on it.

Paula Kissinger 8 years, 1 month ago

Somebody said something earlier about plows going around the roundabouts. Yeah...right off the bat one of the medic units got stuck in the one at Monterey and Peterson. Can't have personnel and equipment and things to remove snow and ice but have plenty of roundabouts and flowers in the downtown area....

workinghard 8 years, 1 month ago

I got the impression brewmaster's comment was suppose to be funny or at least sarcastic. Maybe I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

3up3down 8 years, 1 month ago

NOW that all your whining is over with about whether the plows have been out or not, have you shoveled your sidewalks yet? Remember, you only have 48 hours before the sidewalk snow nazis start looking your way. Another revenue generator for the city.

misseve 8 years, 1 month ago

The only reason I was able to get anywhere and i mean ANYWHERE was not because of the city... THANK YOU PRIVATE CONTRACTORS!!!! if it had not been for my apartment complex and the contractor who cleared the CVS parking lot on 23rd street I would have been stranded in my apartment until today (Sunday) We for the most part left my lot and cut through CVS to get to Iowa or 23rd because Murphy Dr and Ridge Dr were a mess until today. I want to thank all of those who went above and beyond to help the stuck and stranded. I am disappointed yet again in the poor execution of our street department

readingraven 8 years, 1 month ago

It s funny how the same people who wish for snow ,then gripe about it being on the streets .Ok so the city has only a few trucks and about 800 miles of road to do. The trucks go about 20 miles per hr and people wonder why it’s not getting done fast enough .I think Lawrence is a little to spoiled !You sure don’t see every one running out to move their cars to help. And you don’t see people staying in and off the roads so the work can get done. Ok so the same people who are griping will be the same people who also get mad when there’s to much sand on their streets ,Or they can’t get out of there drive because the snow plow snow row blocked them in. Or they are mad because a snow plow spit a little snow on their cars as they go by.I think everyone needs to really think about what really possible and what really can be done! One of the biggest problems we are having is global warming, so here’s the snow to cool it off! Deal with it and stop being such babies about it!

GardenMomma 8 years, 1 month ago

Yes. I had my driveway and sidewalk shoveled before 3 p.m. on Christmas Day. But then, I'm not really complaining either. I also didn't go out and drive anywhere until 2 p.m. this afternoon. Didn't really need to and didn't really want to.

GardenMomma 8 years, 1 month ago

Before this afternoon that is.

Finally was able to have out-of-town relatives make it in for Christmas, so drove out to the parents' house to celebrate.

parrothead8 8 years, 1 month ago

brewmaster (Anonymous) says… Thanks city street crews for making me stay at home with family and relatives on the holiday with no liquor, no wine, no beer, not even rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Talk about no compassion for your fellow man, how would any of you like to suffer like that.

Dude, if you were stuck at home without any beer, you're not worthy of your screen name. Stop whining and start brewing.

ladyjhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Highway 40 west of the k10 junction is in fabulous condition. Completely cleared and dry. Even the gravel county roads were in better condition than the streets in town. Drove home to Lawrence from west of Lecompton today and had no problems until I hit 6th street and George Williams Way. Still slushy and would have been easy to drop a blade and clear down to pavement, but not a city truck in sight. Should be a fun rush hour when all the ruts freeze overnight. I do know that the snow plows have been down my street. Right after I spent 3 hours shoveling my walk and clearing my driveway, in order to comply with the new 48 hour ordinance, the plows buried it under a few feet of snow.

cavtrooper 8 years, 1 month ago

Ya'll is a bunch o' whiners... You think snow removal and road clearing in Lawrence was poor, you should live in Northern Jefferson County. Roads are just now becoming passable and some areas are still pretty messy. My in-laws have been blocked in their apartment since Thursday afternoon. Streets in Winchester are still marginal. Don't hear me whining. We survived just fine. Of course we had to pass on last minute Xmas shopping and the post Xmas sales. And darn it - I missed my low fat rasberry frappy from Miltons this morning. Life is sooo hard. You voted (or didn't vote at all) for the very city government you arenow bitching about. You get what you vote/pay for.....

KansasPerson 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm no city engineer, but it seems from some of the negative comments on here that some people think we should have a much bigger system in place to deal with moderately heavy snows like the one we've been enjoying. But honestly, we haven't had a snow like this in a while. Should we have ten times as many trucks so we can deal with an even that happens once a decade? Doesn't seem very cost-effective. This isn't Minnesota after all.

trace 8 years, 1 month ago

My experience with it was only bad because I had agreed to take care of a friend's house while they were away, and also I desperately wanted to be with out-of-town friends for Christmas. So I felt I HAD to be out on Christmas day. From where I live I could see 11th street was clear, but I couldn't get to it. Or perhaps I should say I couldn't get to it without doing permanent damage to the transmission of my elderly rear-wheel drive light truck which I did. Anyway, ordinarily I never would have attempted to be out in such weather, so I know all my troubles are my own fault. However, when I returned from my long-distance friend's house (yes, I frikkin' made it) I was shocked to see that 25 hours later(4 pm, the 26th), major intersections near downtown were still unnavigable. It was a disappointment.

On a different note, if you are having lots of fun tearing through the streets on Christmas day in your four-wheel drive monster truck, that's great, but when you see me stuck in the intersection, at least slow down when approaching me, because you never know when you might lose control in this weather, ok? Thanks.

Bruce Bertsch 8 years, 1 month ago

Someone brought up the actual answer...START EARLY not after 8 inches have fallen. The plowing should have begun after the first inch. Now it is difficult to clear.

longtimer 8 years, 1 month ago

After years of screaming about how the government is our "enemy" and opposing every single tax increase ever proposed, it's amusing to hear how unhappy people are with city services. When our bridges collapse, the police can't respond and our children can no longer read, maybe some of these idiots will wake up to the idea that government actually means "civilization" and that "taxes" improve life for everyone. Until then, don't expect government services to get any better.

Haiku_Cuckoo 8 years, 1 month ago

If you haven't shoveled your sidewalk yet, you have no right to complain that it's taking to long to plow your street.

'Nuff said.

dizzy_from_your_spin 8 years, 1 month ago

Yikes. We'd really be civilized if we gave all wealth to the government. I wonder if longtimer voluntarily pays more taxes than know, for the good of civilization?

Curtis Lange 8 years, 1 month ago

lmfao @ 'roads finally cleared of snow'. That was a good laugh to start the week.

somebodynew 8 years, 1 month ago

OK, just a few more thoughts - There are several good thoughts on here, but people miss what is obvious to someone like me who has lived here for a long time. While the street design out west is a valid argument, how come the rest of the city looks in the same condition it always does after a snow??

The main problem as I see it, is the philosophy behind the operation. The crews are following orders given to them by their director. We don't need a bunch more trucks, why need a new philosophy on how to use them.

They might get the plows out early, but most of the time they drive around and mainly use salt/sand. They don't start plowing until so much accumulation (and by then it is driven over and hard packed).

I understand the reason for group plowing, but having seen them in action and driven on streets all over town, I don't think even Iowa Street needs 7 trucks to maintain it, "if" they would actually drop the plows sooner. I have seen a lot of "overkill" in this over the years. Think about this - If you put 4 truck Northbound, that would give you 3 for Southbound at the same time, freeing up other trucks to do other streets.]

As for Mass St- I used to complain about that (a lot), but having thought about it, I can't come up with a much better solution.

To the people complaining about the driveways getting blocked after plowing. Welcom to Life. This has always happened and always will. The snow has to go somewhere and the City does not have the time or people (and you don't want the extra taxes) to follow each truck and cleasn up).

So change the policy, even if you have to bring a new director in, and things could improve.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

Developers and cars are very expensive budget items.

They in turn buy very expensive commissioners who support very expensive requests put forth by developers.

Now we have tons of new development aka expanding the tax base which is not paying back the community aka no economic growth. Something went wrong.

Higher taxes and user fees are financing what the expanded tax base is failing to do. This is not economic growth. This is you and me paying for what should be paying for itself

What do new roads bring with them? Development…..seldom long time relief from traffic congestion. New development brings new and more traffic congestion. AND ADDITIONAL SNOW REMOVAL!

Consider if residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.

More streets = more cars = more people = more snow removal = more tax increases.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 1 month ago

Developers consistently increase our tax liabilities: How you ask?

*Over built retail

*Over built residential

*Demanding New Industrial Sites while many 12-14 acre sites are now available

*Demand New sewage treatment plant which is on the backs of taxpayers

*Demand New Housing Projects - If residential growth paid for itself we might not be in a budget crunch. Increased numbers of residential create increased demand on services. Historically revenues generated by residential housing do not pay for the services they require from a municipality thus increased taxes to cover the cost of maintaining:

  • New water and sewer lines are on the backs of taxpayers for maintenance

*New streets are on the backs of taxpayers for maintenance

*New public schools are on the backs of taxpayers

*More fire & emergency med stations are on the backs of taxpayers

*more law enforcement manpower is on the backs of taxpayers

  • more snow removal is on the backs of taxpayers

  • More cross walks are on the backs of taxpayers

*More Traffic Controls are on the backs of taxpayers

*More Parks are on the backs of taxpayers

*New Million dollar intersections fall on the backs of taxpayers

So when people scream out let developers do whatever they want remember it gets in to your expendable cash supply = less expendable cash supply.

This snow storm is but one example. Under the circumstances I say Lawrence,Kansas did good. More roads require more tax dollars.

misseve 8 years, 1 month ago

Lets see 1. I would love to never see a white christmas 2. didn't leave my home until about 11am that day because that was my plan anyway 3. still should not had to shovel out the mound of snow left by city crews attempts at "helping" 4.still grateful for the private contractors or i would have been home bound until Sunday. not griping just stating that facts as i see them

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 1 month ago

Put all on the snow at merrill's house, that will allow him to spend more time thinkin about an original thought instead of his normal OCD cut and paste.

Come on Merrill take one for the good of the community.

Jennifer Dropkin 8 years, 1 month ago

Dump trucks are multiuse vehicles, and they can be used to haul snow away. Snow blowers are usually used to fill them up, although I don't know if these are the same snow blowers that residents use for their sidewalks or if there are bigger, institutional ones for sale. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised if the city owned a few snowblowers already. The city has big vehicles that "clean" the streets of leaves in the gutters, so if the city thinks that that kind of service is important, why isn't it important to haul snow away?

I don't think the equipment requirements (and resulting expense) are the problems here--as somebodynew mentioned, a new philosophy is more important, along with a better understanding than what we have now for what can be done to keep a city operational after a major snowfall.

InspectorJo 8 years, 1 month ago

I would like to THANK ALL of the men and women that worked to clear the city, county and township roads. Thank you for giving your time, for freezing your a**es off, everytime your wipers would freeze up and you would have to stop and climb the truck or grader to unfreeze them. Thank you for pulling out that stranded motorist and their family in 15 degree tempatures, thank you for almost getting frost bite on your fingers and toes, this is one of many Douglas County citizens that really means THANK YOU for a job well done. You are APPRECIATED!!!!

Jennifer Dropkin 8 years, 1 month ago

As for all the griping and whining about plows leaving mounds of snow at driveways when they plow--now that really is whining. Everyone, everywhere, even in large cities with great snow removal plans, has to shovel themselves out. I did, my neighbors have. The city is responsible for keeping roads operational--but it's your job to dig your driveway and sidewalk out, even if the city plowed excess onto them. Save the complaints for what really matters--like inadequate snow removal of the streets preventing you from getting to the hospital or grocery store or work once you're out of the driveway.

somebodynew 8 years, 1 month ago

Agreed inspectojo !!! I hope noone misunderstands my previous comments. I truely appreciate and respect the workers (although I know at least the City workers are paid). My main problem is their tatics are the same as when I moved here 30 years ago. They have not updated their thinking about how to do the job efficently.

And, I agree about the Dg. Cty workers, esp. the township people. I now live in the county and iit is a fact, I have less trouble getting around in the county and can tell a real difference when I hit the city limits.

Anyway, just so they know, I Thank the guys/gals doing the job. It is just the city workers have to follow a different policy.

BigPrune 8 years, 1 month ago

The reason why the City doesn't have enough money to budget for snow falls like this is because of so-called “smart” growth policies that have been detrimental to our tax base that directly effects our quality of life.

Johnson County streets are plowed, even their side streets were plowed. K-10 highway has actual pavement showing - you can see where the State takes over from the City - Lawrence side has high snow, State side has none to very little snow. Just drive East on 23rd.

I thought we lived on an island in the middle of what?

I don't fault the street crews for busting their tails. I fault the administration for not allocating enough funds and instead cherry pick stupid ideas (like paying thousands for invisible carbon credits to some out of state non-profit).

ack 8 years, 1 month ago

Privatize snow removal on secondary roads and roundabouts dead ends, and circles. Leave downtown and major throughfares to the city and county crews.

BigPrune 8 years, 1 month ago

So, Johnson County embraces job creation and you and your people fight it every chance you get. American Eagle Outfitters comes to mind Ripper.

I rest my case.

Tony Kisner 8 years, 1 month ago

Two true statements;

All road crews fail after a snow. All other drivers do not know how to drive in the snow.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 1 month ago

The roads were cleared pretty well considering the amount of snowfall we had.

BigPrune 8 years, 1 month ago

Your people had a problem with it Ripper. The last protest that ran them off was building on "virginal farmland" so who cares if it was in a business park.

google "smart growth" carbon credits

I see a correlation.

Cooper0602 8 years, 1 month ago

Gilly-- I was out from about 9pm-2:30am last night/this morning. I cannot even count how many city crews I saw working at moving the snow. Not only were they salting and re-plowing, they had dump trucks and huge loaders moving snow that was blocking intersections. As I drove to work this morning I could really see a difference.

nytemayr 8 years, 1 month ago

Yeah I and my neighbors paid a guy to plow our street for us. The city did ok on this clearing. This was a big snow.

Remember Its YOUR responsibility to clear sidewalks and drives to your home.

Get off your behind! Its shovel time!! You want the snow removed and get out there with the rest of us and get it done! If we all work together then it gets done

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 1 month ago

Maybe Merrill should put some snow blower heads on those environmentally unfriendly two-cycle devices of his and help out on some of these walks and driveways.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 1 month ago

It's Monday morning and there are still streets that have barely been touched.

BigPrune 8 years, 1 month ago

So Ripper, so-called "Smart" Growth has hampered our quality of life and you're okay with it. No need to ramble on and on about it in a "round-a-bout" way, ha, ha.

sinverguenza 8 years, 1 month ago

Take a look at this:

That's my car on the other side of a mountain of snow left in front of my driveway by the city. I live at the end of a cul-de-sac and while it could have been piled up where no driveways are (with little effort on the part of the plowers), it looks as though a good chunk of the entire street's snow was left just for me. I see the piles my neighbors have had to shovel from their driveways, and my pile is at least ten times that amount. I was soaked up to my thighs just trying to get to the house last night, and my car remains parked sort of out in the middle of the cul-de-sac.

If anyone of you gung-ho "get out and shovel it" people were to tell me you had to deal with the same amount, I'd bet good money you were lying. My landlord is going to have to bring a tractor to clear it because I still can't reach anyone at the city to make a complaint, and that's certainly more than I can shovel on my own.

leedavid 8 years, 1 month ago

Just heard a local radio talk show personality go off on how hard it is to remove snow and we should ride around with them to see how hard it is. Everyone on the crews applied for their job, its a hard job. For every hour they were on the roads they got paid. For every hour they were on the road there were people working long shifts over at the hospital and the police department. There were people that could not get to work because the roads weren't clear there were people stuck and had to be rescued because the roads weren't clear. It was tough for the road crews. But they don't work these kind of hours every day. Years have gone and they have not worked these kind of hours.

The storm started Dec 23 and the morning of Dec 28 the roads were declared cleared. The final grade for the quality and quantity of their work C-. That's just my view having lived in other areas where it snows.

basil 8 years, 1 month ago

When people complain about the snowplows "plowing them in" in their driveways, I have to wonder what they expect. Either you pay to have someone plow your drive/sidewalk, or you shovel it out. Plows push the snow to the side. That's how they work. My evidence?=22 years in the snowy North. We'd all wait for the plows to come, then get in there and shovel out the drives and alleyways (or call the private contractors to do it). That's called..brace yourself....winter.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 1 month ago

Well dang did not win the powerball so no moving to Hawaii. oh well.

Rowdyone 8 years, 1 month ago

I am glad to hear that the Lawrence crews were out working over the holiday. it was another story in Eudora, They waited until all the snow had been packed down and many people had become stuck and very frustrated with the way things were being handled before they decided to actually pull out the plow. I watched one street being cleared multiple times, while other streets that entire day were never even touched. As a tax payer I feel that all streets should have been cleared much sooner than they were. Snow knows no holiday and some people I am sure had to cancel family gatherings because it was impossible to to get around town. This is not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. The city has little respect for those that live in its town.

mr_right_wing 8 years, 1 month ago

Alright folks, it's your turn now. Get out and clear off those walkways. Plenty of people on here complained about how the city was way to slow; are you going to be one of those who just neglect the pedestrian right to a clear sidewalk on your property? In this city as a land owner it is your responsibility to clear off those sidewalks. Let's get to it people!!

mrw has spoken.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 1 month ago

well mr mine has been cleaned off since christmas and redone as needed with the additional snow. if you can get to my sidewalk you are lucky seems we are the only ones on the block that have done the walkways.

another_concerned_parent 8 years, 1 month ago

As for how the snowplows go around the round-abouts, very slowly and carefully. We drove thru the round-abouts on North Kasold Sunday afternoon, they looked like they hadn't been plowed yet, but I know for a fact they were plowed Saturday afternoon. If the roads don't get a lot of traffic then they are still going to look unplowed. But if you realize how much snow had fallen/blown in the area you would say to yourself, "Maybe they did go down my street". Quit your whining and be thankful they worked on Christmas Eve & Day.

leedavid 8 years, 1 month ago

Didn't we pay them holiday pay to work the holidays?

sinverguenza 8 years, 1 month ago

I wasn't complaining about snow in the cul-de-sac Ripper, I am complaining about the fact that instead of pushing the snow in the dead space of the cul-de-sac where no one needs to drive and no driveways are located, they plowed the street and pushed all the snow right in front of my driveway. To the tune of snow higher than the hood of my car. My driveway wasn't treated like a driveway, but rather a dumping spot, while all other driveways on the street were treated like driveways and left with snow that could reasonably be shoveled. My landlord is currently using a tractor to ram the pile into the dead space it should have been shoved to in the first place. But I'm not surprised you couldn't comprehend what I'm talking about. Like the snow in my drive, it's probably way over your head.

sinverguenza 8 years, 1 month ago

To sum it up, I pay the same taxes and fees to the the city that everyone else on my street does, yet I did not get the same service. It's a legitimate complaint.

HOMETOWNBOY 8 years, 1 month ago

Everyone knows that all of the snow should be piled in those areas of the parking lots with the little blue sign and the person in the wheelchair on it! That way those who walk into the businesses do not track it in.

sinverguenza 8 years, 1 month ago

What's more likely to happen, Ripper? I complain about the plowing technique and perhaps get them to plow differently next time, or I complain about the street design and perhaps get them to redesign the street? I certainly know what's more likely to happen and what's more likely to benefit me (the cul-de-sac certainly isn't the issue). I'll stick with that and the point rather than ranting about something that there isn't any real chance of changing. You may like to waste your time, but the rest of us have better things to do. I and my landlord have made the appropriate complaints to the city now and my street is cleared the way it should have been in the first place. Enjoy your miserable day up there on the high horse.

IrishCat 8 years, 1 month ago

My family had a great Christmas. On Wednesday evening we headed to KC to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, they were amazing as usual, then back to Lawrence for a late night breakfast at IHOP. The very next morning we headed to the grocery store with the intent of stocking up on food that would last 4 to 5 days at least and get us through the snowstorm so that we did not have to deal with any traffic or snow issues. We hunkered down, enjoyed our toasty house, our new, but modest presents, ate well, and enjoyed each other's company without having to even leave the yard. The key is to plan ahead. Yesterday we all went outside and shoveled the sidewalk (no fine coming there) and shoveled out a path in the driveway so the car could get out this morning when I came back to work. I think the city workers are doing the very best that they can with the equipment and manpower that they have. My street is always one of the very last, if at all to be plowed, but somehow, even though I drive a peanut of a car with no four-wheel drive, I always seem to manage to come to work. Be happy with what you have folks, if you are not, then make some changes, and always plan ahead.

leedavid 8 years, 1 month ago

Irish Cat, I went to TSO as well. The 3:00 show...gosh they are the best. Then off to KOJO's for dinner. The road crews don't have it nearly as bad as troops overseas and certainly get paid much more.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 1 month ago

Is the city still picking up trees today? I gave up on the battle of pine needles they won.

sinverguenza 8 years, 1 month ago

Gawd. The job was completed. Incorrectly. And the problem is now fixed and probably (fingers crossed) won't occur again because they've been notified of the error and know to act differently next time.

But I think I'll sit and whine anyway. Not about the fact that my needs should come before the rest of the townspeople's (not that I ever was doing that) but about the fact that you're too thick to understand my original complaint. Again...

To sum it up, I pay the same taxes and fees to the the city that everyone else on my street does, yet I did not get the same service. It's a legitimate complaint.

Sheila Hooper White 8 years, 1 month ago

mommaeffort - it's very bright out. i had to close the blinds for a little while this morning!! and yes they picked up my tree. i too gave up. it just takes up so much room.

be safe out there!!

notjustastudent 8 years, 1 month ago

sinverguenza- as I understand it you're complaining about you're snow pile being higher than everyone elses? But your street did get plowed, correct? and then your landlord came and moved the rest, correct? Yeah, I guess that kinda sucks, having to deal with an extra foot or so of snow once every few years...

I was up north for the holidays, shoveled about half a dozen drives and sidewalks, then came back last night and shoveled in front of my house here (I'm a renter, but I'm not afraid of a little hard work and sweat). Had to park a block and a half away and walk all my stuff through the drifts, up hill. No biggie, I expected it. As a kid, I had to shovel half a dozen driveways and sidewalks once a week. Drifts that were far taller than any of us, and mountains of snow from the plows that would make yours look like an ant hill. That's how it is. Nobody complains up there, and most of the time it becomes a social event. If you feel like you have a legitamate complaint, fine. You do in a way, but in the bigger picture, you just sound kinda whiney, because I probably pay the same taxes you do, and things were crappier for me.

Kudos to the crews for putting in long hours in crappy conditions and difficult situations!

situveux1 8 years, 1 month ago

When the city crews remove all the snow in 48 hours I'll clear my sidewalk as well.

When makes the city think I want to be out there clearing my sidewalk anymore than their crews want to be out there clearing the streets on Christmas?

Sounds like a double standard to me.

Mike Hoffmann 8 years, 1 month ago

I live in JOCO, in a cul-de-sac, and I had the exact same problems everyone in Lawrence did. There is no easy fix when it comes to getting almost a foot of snow, people. It's going to be inconvienent. You want a magical Utopia? Go play The Sims.

LadyJ 8 years, 1 month ago

sinverguenza--Did you maybe consider that someone with the street department is pissed with your landlord? I've been kind of wondering about that myself over here. I live near LHS and use 18th street between Louisiana and Vermont to get to Dillons. The street was cleared beautifully yesterday except for the section beside Birchwood Gardens between Tennessee and Kentucky. I don't think it was plowed at all. It seemed rather strange, I thought maybe the owners had made the city mad or something. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and it was just somehow a mistake. Maybe he didn't realize the blade was up for that one block.

sinverguenza 8 years, 1 month ago


No, the issue was that the city still hasn't been able to fix the curb for my driveway (I have to jump the curb to get to the driveway as of now), so when the snow plows came through, they just treated my drive like it didn't exist (because technically since they haven't fixed the curb, it doesn't according to the city plan). That was the only issue, and one of the plowers even offered to try to run though the driveway to the next block because of the mess they'd caused, but it wouldn't have been enough room for the plow truck and it wasn't necessary at that point because I'd already taken a shovel to what the landlord didn't get. As I mentioned earlier, it probably won't happen again because we've (my landlord and I) talked to the city about it now. But of course since I'm just a lazy person who didn't want to do any hard work, all these comments about my character and whining are completely legit. If only I were like Ripper, notjustastudent, or Stedman, I'd never complain about being given poor service. Yep, I'd just suck it up and take it like they take it all the time. Oh, and I'd like it too, just like they like it, but not quite as much as I'd like acting like I'm better than somebody because I didn't speak up to fix the problem I had. /sarcasm

LadyJ 8 years, 1 month ago

sinverguenza--Hey, I've got one of those curbs too. Been driving over the dang thing for over 20 yrs thinking sooner or later the darn thing will start to break down like the ones at the roundabouts. But no way, they must have made them much better back then, it's still good as new.

notanoobhere 8 years, 1 month ago

Everyone knew the storm was coming yet none of you whiny little helpless nancys did any type of preparation for it and now you need the city to bail you out on Christmas. Do you really think these hard working men and women should give up their christmas so you little tiny POS car can go to starbucks. Please get a clue as to the volume of the work that has to be done and try and have a little self accountability. Plan ahead morons.

7texdude 8 years, 1 month ago

Yes, I am thankful for the crews' work over Christmas. But don't forget that it's their job to blow snow on any day at any time. We have a lot of people who are praising and defending them for simply doing their job. Oh, they froze their butts off......what? They clear snow for a living. Of course it's going to be cold dufus. It's winter. It sucks. That's life.

It sucks to work on Christmas. I know. I did. It's my job. It's their job too. Neither of us should get a medal for that. We all got paid holiday paid, right? That is a reward for me.

I am thankful for the job they did, but it could have been done better. No doubt. The question is what are we going to do different next time. That is important. No one is answering that question because we are too busy arguing about yesterday.

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Plows? by rlsd 8 years, 1 month ago

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