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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-11-10, 04:53 AM   #1
mike
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Winter Road conditions worse this year?

Have you noticed that roads are being maintained less this year than previous years? It is very obvious here where snow removal is incomplete and sanding/salting is being done only very sparingly.

The city is saying that it is due to budget concerns. I don't quite understand that because they haven't layed any street crews off nor has of the crew been furlowed.

Net result is that I haven't been able to bicycle since the snow started flying in December. All the streets except the main roads continue to have at least 2" of snow cover with ice pack underneath that. This is not like previous years when snow removal was better and the streets were cleared off so that you could ride through the winter. Now I know I have a glimse into what it was like back in the 1800's when street cleaning was very limited. I suppose you COULD bike on it if you really wanted to, but I am deeming it too dangerous and too time consuming to be practical this winter.

What are you seeing in your neck of the woods?
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Old 01-11-10, 07:06 AM   #2
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Yeah, cities are trying to ration their snow removal budgets so they don't run out of money like they did last year (and I believe the year before too). In an effort to save a buck, some goofballs in city government use a nice, mellow year as their baseline for budgeting snow removal, rather than using a typical year, and then consider any year that is typical or worse as an aberration and don't adjust their budgets accordingly.

IMO, if one happens to be one of those Utopians who want a world with less cars, smaller governments etc., you'd best be learning to ride in the snow or developing an alternative form of winter commuting.
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Old 01-11-10, 07:49 AM   #3
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One of the few good things about living in Rochester in the winter is that we have snow removal down to a science. If they're skimping on funding this year, I haven't seen any evidence.
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Old 01-11-10, 08:43 AM   #4
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Bare and dry for weeks on end.

Of course, we've had maybe five inches of snow all winter.
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Old 01-11-10, 09:55 AM   #5
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I thought last year was bad but this year has been much the same or worse. I don't think here at least it's due to plowing, it's just been the weather.

You get a lot of snow, then some rain that turns everything underneath to slush, then more snow. After that it gets real cold so that the uneven ice layer freezes to the road. That in combination with that fact that in this city many people park on the street. Though they have an an even-odd parking ban after snowfalls, plowing down to the pavement for the full width of the street is a big challenge.

This week the roads should clear up a bit due to the milder weather. The ice was already a bit softer this morning.
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Old 01-11-10, 11:30 AM   #6
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I was psyched to see that sometime since Friday, a pot hole that I've been avoiding on my morning commute was filled in!
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Old 01-11-10, 12:35 PM   #7
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When I first read the title of the topic thread, I wasn't sure if the conversation was going to be about conditions on the roads being worse this year because of simingly colder conditions this year throughout the US (and presumably Canada) or about the fact that communities are cutting their snow removal budgets.

I believe there is a bit of both factors involved.

Yes, this winter IS proving -- so far -- to have a greater grip on us than the last few years.

I remember 3 years ago here in Indiana we didn't get any accumulation until about January 15, and 2 years ago it was 60 and raining on January 10.

Last year we had two major -- for us this is 4-6+ inches on snow -- snowstorms right around now and at the end of January.

This year we just had a fairly big one last week, but not a whole lot of snow before then -- probably an inch or two a couple of times. The peculiar thing is the snow usually melts, but this year we have not seen temps climb out of the 20 (daytime high) since before Christmas, so there is quite a bit of lingering snow.

I am expecting at least one substantial snowfall at the very end of the month or in the first half of February. Big snow is more rare later in February -- more like an inch or two here and there.

Supposedly we are going to warm up later in the week and even hit 50 some time next week.

As far as the snow removal, I am in the richest county in Indiana and I HAVE observed much less very expensive trucks -- there were a lot of small to medium vehicles around though. Not sure if the budget cuts are playing into this. It also seemed like they were waiting for the snow to end to start work rather than continuously work throughout the duration like they used to in the past.
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Old 01-11-10, 12:43 PM   #8
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This is my first year full time winter commuting. I've been pleased with the snow removal efforts so far in my area.

Paul
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Old 01-11-10, 01:39 PM   #9
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Yeah, like tjspie sez, the Twin Cities are in tough shape this year... I ranted about it on page 130 of the commuter forum under "How was your commute today?" The frozen rain on top of the 18" of snow fall at Christmas sealed our fate. There is nothing the road crews can do about a situation like that although I would say that tight budgets have something to do with it too.

In our daily paper there is a story about how various municipalities deal with snow on sidewalks. Some take care of it as a service, some fine homeowners for not clearing them. You should see all the comments from irate citizens! Some think the city should take care of it. Others think it should be the homeowner's responsibility. NO ONE wants to pay for it. In fact, there's a big segment of the population that never wants to pay for anything that does not directly benefit themselves, (like educating other people's kids), and they see being taxed for anything they don't use as a threat to their freedom and liberty.
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Old 01-11-10, 10:44 PM   #10
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Surely, there is more snow this year because I have been cross country skiing nearly every day since the middle of December last year.

One thing is that last year I used to lash my skis to my bicycle and bike to the ski area. I can't do that now because the roads aren't clean enough to bike.

So, it seems to me that in addition to heavier than normal snowfall, the city isn't cleaning the streets as good as previous years. One more piece of evidence to this is that usually at this time of year, the snow piles on our cull de sac and in front of my house are 12' high and the neighbor kids ski and sled on them. Now, the pile are only 4' high. The snow is still on the streets rather than in piles.
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