What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 10, 2010

Mayor Ravenstahl: A History of Snow Removal Problems

(Video here)

While I made light of Ravenstahl's snow removal problems here, that post did show that this was not the Mayor's first failure to provide basic city services so I decided to delve a little deeper.

  • February 2007:
    Ravenstahl "asks people to stay home today, tonight." "Crews have been out all day, but Mr. Ravenstahl acknowledged that many city streets are slippery and snow-covered."

  • February 2008:
    Complaints surface of political plowing."
    - 2/15/08, Mayor promises changes in snow removal priorities
    "Reliance on RouteSmart, a computerized system that can route snow plows to neglected areas, a move Public Works Director Guy Costa foreshadowed in January. An executive order to end the practice among some plow truck drivers of delaying work on primary roads in favor of clearing the streets of elected city officials and Democratic committee members."
    - 2/16/08, Mayor declares war on snow, Ravenstahl makes changes, vows 'we will do better'
    "With the city fielding more than 1,000 calls about unplowed streets this week, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl intends to pull out all the stops -- and a few more snow plows as well -- to make sure it doesn't happen again."
  • November 2009:
    Mayor/Administration brags to New York Times: "By most measures he has been fairly successful as mayor. He cut the city’s work force by 2 percent, streamlined snow removal..." [Emphasis added]

  • December 2009:
    "Into Sunday morning, even major thoroughfares were snow-covered and residents said other roads remained impassible. [snip] Some neighborhoods registered few complaints with the lion's share of the criticism coming from Squirrel Hill, Shadyside and Greenfield in the East End and Brookline and Beechview in the South Hills. Those complaints come after Mayor Ravenstahl declared war on snow and called for the implementation of a route system to make snow removal more efficient."

  • February 2010
    - 2/5/2010
    Mayor leaves town despite a Winter Storm Warning issued, headline stating "Pittsburgh region preparing for the arrival of its largest snowfall in seven years," and KDKA predicting up to 12 inches all by early that morning.
    - 2/5/2010 - 2/6/2010
    City receives 15 to 23 inches of snow.
    - 2/8/2010
    'Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said this afternoon that city crews are scrambling to clear snow from all secondary streets today, knowing that a forecast of 6 to 10 inches of new snow expected tomorrow will force them to return to primary roads. The goal for secondary streets is "to at least get them treated in some way before the additional snow starts to fall tomorrow," Mr. Ravenstahl said by phone. "I want to make sure that those roads that haven't been touched are dealt with. "The thought process and rationale is to attempt to get at least the top layer of snow off of all streets" before snow starts again.'
    - 2/9/2010
    "Mayor Luke Ravenstahl defended the city's snow removal while admitting the city hasn't had enough resources to do a total job. Ravenstahl said during the early stages of the storm Friday night, public works employees, in many cases, had to respond to some public safety issues. The mayor issued a call for outside contractors and private individuals to contact the city by...if they can help in snow plowing and removal. The city already is getting assistance in the form of manpower and vehicles from both the Pa. National Guard and PennDOT."
    - 2/10/2010
    'Mr. Ravenstahl said that while the city would evaluate its performance and the effectiveness of its routing system, the week's problems were to some degree rooted in numbers: 30 inches, five days, and only so many dollars. "Our fleet is not adequate for the storm that we had this time, with 20 inches of snow," and a follow-up storm of perhaps another 10 inches. "We could very easily purchase more equipment, but of course we have to balance that with our budgetary constraints." Mr. Ravenstahl said a big problem over the weekend was the diversion of salt trucks from routes to assist stuck police cars, fire trucks and ambulances.'

    Numerous Pittsburgh streets remain untouched by plow or salt...

    Eric Williams said...

    Thank you for this public service.

    Gloria said...

    KDKA radio just announced that Mayor Luke will be answering 311 calls today, beginning at 2 p.m.

    Maria said...

    See, now that's exactly where he should be working -- at a phone center -- or behind a fast food counter.

    Rage Against the Democratic Machine said...


    Who ends up the fall guy for this fiasco?

    Gin said...

    As a long time resident/visitor/driver of the South Side, I can attest that our snow removal is nonexisent regardless of the amount. Snow removal (and the mayor's promises) are a running joke in our neighborhood. Although I sypmathize with the rest of my Pittsburgh bretheren, I'm glad Snowpocalypse has come to pass. With smaller amounts of snow, it's easy to ignore the neighborhoods of the brave council people who oppose you Mr. mayor Luke, but now everyone is experiencing what South Siders do everytime it snows - being homebound due to impassable and DANGEROUS roads and your indifference to tax payers' safety and welfare over and over and over again.

    rich10e said...

    Snow removal in South Oakland has been non-existent. On Ward ST.where I live, there is about 6-8 inches of solid ice covered by loose snow that constitutes the street.Councilman Kraus has been responsive: DPW is disingenuous in their claims of hitting my street.Dawson, Atwood, & Meyran are just as poorly maintained.

    EdHeath said...

    Penn Av in Point Breeze has finally had the packed snow/ice removed from the lanes where people are drive. However, the piled snow on the sides and in the center of the street mean it is still running one lane each way. And of course Squirrel Hill, Shadyside and Oakland (Peduto/Shields country) are still terrible.

    Eric Williams said...

    Help the city buffoons find the worst roads at How's My Street.

    Clyde Wynant said...

    The only way this ever gets fixed (unlikely..) is if a child dies because of it. Or a fire truck can't get to a house. And both of those are very real scenarios....

    Michael said...

    ....rewind to 2008..and the promises to fix this city's snow removal program.... was a failure in 2008. was a failure in 2009. is a failure in 2010. i'm glad i moved out of the city. i feel bad for those who are stuck in one way or another.
    ......now luke says that salt trucks were diverted to help police,fire,and ems...... funny thing is i just saw a news report on tv about a man dying because ems couldn't get through roads to his house... when is luke lying? when his lips are moving of course!

    Maria said...

    A man did die because of it.

    javieth said...

    I must to say i love the snow, the cold climate, although i´m not a child anymore i remember my happy childhood and all the beutiful time that i spent with all my friends. Now when is snowing i prefer to spend my time with my boyfriend, most of all that he decided to buy viagra, we enjoy all the time.