Three neighborhoods in line for early snow removal

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | 4:06 p.m. CDT; updated 8:46 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 22, 2012

COLUMBIA – Three city neighborhoods would be bumped to the top of the list for residential snow plowing under a proposed pilot project.

Cedar Lake, Valley View Gardens and Deer Ridge neighborhoods have been selected for early snow removal in exchange for getting all vehicles off of streets ahead of time. The Columbia Public Works Department plans to begin the trial this winter.

In events of snowfall 4 inches or greater, plows would go to these neighborhoods after crews clear major thoroughfares and other "priority" streets under the city snow-clearing plan.

Jill Stedem, spokeswoman of the department, said that a single vehicle left on a street may require plows to move to the next street.

Cars parked on the street have been an issue in the past for snow removal efforts. It can be dangerous when trucks have to maneuver around parked cars, and removing vehicles from the curb would be safer, Stedem said.

There are 80 recognized neighborhood associations in Columbia, and 24 qualified for participation in the program, Stedem said. Each of these 24 neighborhood associations were contacted, with 18 responding positively. Three were then chosen to participate.

City Council discussed this program at its regular meeting Monday, where John Glascock, director of Public Works, explained the reasoning behind the neighborhoods chosen. 

The neighborhoods contacted had to meet the requirement of having alternative parking away from the street. Stedem said there are more options for parking in these three neighborhoods compared to others in Columbia.  

"These are not heavily parked areas, and so we thought that we could get better compliance to start with to see how it worked," Glascock said.

The participating neighborhoods will be notified through educational materials such as signs in yards and emails to the neighborhood associations. 

Stedem said the program gives the city an opportunity to work with neighborhood associations and to have smoother and safer operations during snow removal. 

"I'd rather talk about the snow now than in February," said First Ward Councilman Fred Schmidt during Monday's council meeting. He said it was a "great thing to try some pilots, and we'll see how it goes." 

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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