Help city snow crews help you

Snow is one of those bittersweet things about living Up North.

It is often indescribably beautiful and serene. It creates all kinds of opportunities for outdoor fun, from snowshoeing to snowmobiling to ice fishing to a simple snowball fight.

But it also can make for dangerous or at least slow traveling, and it can make for backbreaking work keeping the paths for driving and walking passable.

Recently, the city sent a news release asking residents for patience as crews work to dig out of winter storms.

The city tries to hit all of its streets within 12 hours of the end of a storm, the news release said, but the city has 14 Department of Public Works employees driving eight plow trucks, four pickups with plows, and a broom truck with a snowblowing unit on it to clear 180 lane miles of streets, seven miles of alley, 27 parking lots, and the city’s Bi-Path and sidewalks adjacent to city-owned property. It takes time.

There are things you can do to help the city help you:

∫ Shovel your sidewalks. Residents are required to clear sidewalks touching their property. If they don’t, city crews have to spend time arranging for the sidewalks to be cleared, and that’s time that could be spent clearing roadways or performing other important work,

∫ Don’t park in the street. Parking is prohibited on certain streets at certain times partly to allow plows to get through. But, during snowstorms, avoiding parking on streets even where it is allowed can help crews get their jobs done more quickly and safely.

∫ Don’t shovel or blow snow from your driveway into the street. It’s prohibited, first of all, and crews have enough to do.

∫ Shovel the road “upstream” from your driveway. You can lessen the collection of heavy snow at the end of your driveway by shoveling about three feet into the road for about 10 feet “upstream” from your home — iff you live on an eastbound road, for example, shovel 10 feet to the west. That leaves less snow for the plows to throw onto your driveway when they come through.

Getting through the bad parts of winter is a team effort. We all should do our part.