Time To Clear The Roads Now

Anyone who shovels the snow from their driveway knows it is a lot easier to do BEFORE several inches have accumulated and packed down.

We go through this every time it snows or there is any kind of emergency. Before we go any further, SOLDIERS, NURSES, FIREMEN, COPPERS, TEACHERS, SNOWPLOW DRIVERS, and the TRASH GUYS are all heroes. All people working for government are dedicated public servants.

That said, it appears to the GUARDIAN that streets are getting worse every time it snows because nothing more than chemical spray and sand have been applied to the roads. It is sort of like spraying your dinner dishes with disinfectant instead of washing them.

Common sense dictates that major arterial streets need to be plowed, not just to get around, but to prevent flooding when packed snow turns to slush. To add to the problem, we note quite a few drains and catch basins are purposely blocked for some reason. Look for local flooding when the temp warms and the rains come.

We are fully aware that cash is tight, overtime is costly, and you can’t outsmart mother nature. The Idaho Transportation Department gets the plows out and clears away the snow and slush in a timely fashion. It may be time for the Ada County Highway District to clear some snow instead of relying upon chemicals and sand.

Thanks to rampant GROWTH, the ACHD is saddled with maintaining more miles of roadway each year and much of their efforts are focused in the foothills due to steep inclines lined with high value homes.

Meanwhile we got a letter from a citizen complaining about lack of enforcement of a Boise Ordinance requiring people to clear sidewalks adjacent to their property. It looks like the snowfall and lack of clearing is a problem everywhere.

Ironically, most shopping malls and retail businesses get the snow off their parking lots in a timely fashion, but if the shoppers can’t get to the store, it is of little use.

UPDATE 6 p.m. Saturday–Weather reports claim we have had 19.5 inches of snow in December and the AVERAGE NORMAL SEASON is only 18.4! The ruts are getting deeper.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Sam the sham
    Dec 27, 2008, 1:50 pm

    I used to live on a corner lot and always got up early to get the snow shoveled off.
    The bank on the corner of Vista and Cassia doesn’t bother with the sidewalks, but does clear the parking lot. It appears that they only care about people who drive.
    As far as the homeowners in my area – it’s hit and miss as far as who clears the walks. I guess that when I lived on the corner I really should not have bothered since the city really doesn’t enforce their own rules. Kinda like the dog poop law…. slippery.

  2. Sam – if anyone slips on those non-cleared sidewalks they can sue for damages.
    I know that you are not as rich as the city, so if you are not going to keep your walks clear I will walk by and sue you and the city for lack of enforcement.

  3. So far, in a year and a half, my one and only complaint about Boise is the ‘every man for himself’ getting about in snow policy. I say snow policy because my road has never been plowed and the plowing of major roads is very hit and miss. It is so random it must be a policy. In addition, folk seem to find the idea of shoveling their own drives and sidewalks too quaint to matter, so folk tend to fall down a lot.

    Still, after 18 months with this my only complaint, Idaho is a pretty great place.

  4. Get a life folks – see a walk or drive that isn’t cleared walk around it. Need to get around in snow – acquire a vehicle that is appropriate. We live in the NorthWest…deal with it. Quit expecting everything to be done for you.

  5. So Mr. Guardian
    When you plow the snow where do you plan to put it? Things happen when you plow… Cover folks cars? Cover drive ways? Put it in the turn lanes?

    I live in Idaho City and I can tell you there are some negatives with plowing.

    Now if you follow the plow with a back hoe and dump truck… but where are you going to haul the snow off to? Garden City? Maybe in some of the bars parking lots? Or maybe the road going down to ACHD?

    Some of the new folks think that plowing is the answer, but some of us older Idahoans know of the problems. I thought you were one of the older ones.

    Let’s hear your idea?

    EDITOR NOTE– Porc, We agree there are negatives with plowing, but I think they have started actually doing some plowing since the posting. They certainly didn’t do it because the GUARDIAN thought it should be done. Are you gonna be one of those who “damn them” if they do? Face it, there is a bunch of snow that needs to go somewhere.

  6. I have to give ACHD a pass on this one. The last time I remember them actively plowing roads was back in the 90’s when we had that snow that arrived around Thanksgiving and seemed to stay until March. They piled all the snow up in the left turn lanes of the arterials and the businesses wanted to lynch them because no one could make a left turn into a business. So they seem damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Maybe we can weed out some of the “newbies” by just driving on the snow and don’t bother plowing.

  7. The roads pictured appear to have been plowed and sanded. The chemical and sand trucks ACHD uses do have snow plows also. Actually I was commenting to my wife how passable the major roads were for a change today. It’s tough on ACHD when the storm hits all day long and keeps piling up. I suggest checking out their web cams and incident alerts at before venturing out on a day like today.

    As far as the blocked drains, that’s usually a requirement when construction is ongoing in the area to help meet the demands of the Clean Water Act. The sand bags act like Snake River dams collecting the sediment behind them while allowing the water to pass over.

  8. Oh, heck, just wait it out – it always goes away by itself eventually. Call in sick/stranded on Monday. Stay home and play
    Monopoly, put together a jigsaw puzzle.

    Buy some cleats for your shoes and go for a walk. Find a golf course and learn cross country skiing.

    This hardly ever happens. I remember walking home from Park School on 16th and Main when I was six and the snow was higher than my knees. That was in 1947-48, I think. Does anyone remember the other bad snow year?

  9. AMEN to Antiphobe! Idaho should mean independence and self sufficiency!!

  10. Every man for himself, yeah that’s the western spirit! Oh, but what about when you want to actually walk somewhere? According to anti’s view, those folks should just buy some snow shoes and crampons and trudge around the neighborhood. What happened to the notion of community? Can’t people be responsible and clear their sidewalks of snow?

    According to anti’s extreme and distorted view of western libertarianism, if your neighbor’s barn caught fire, well, he better have a big pump and a hose, because, hey that’s his fault that he had a straw pile too close to the barn when the lightning struck.

    I’m afraid this sort of ‘to hell with them’, every-man-for-himself, social Darwinism is a revisionist ‘vision’ of the spirit and ethos of Idaho and the west. I’m glad more of our pioneer ancestors didn’t follow anti’s philosophy; there might not be too many folks left around here if they did.

  11. Antiphobe- the only place to “walk around it” is into the streets. I don’t like walking onto Vista Avenue to avoid the ice and snow on the walks. And if the city is going to have a rule to clear the walks, then it should be
    or taken off of the books.

  12. TJ – traffic wasn’t so bad back then. And folks didn’t have their minds on their cell phones.

  13. I don’t think we need to have a bunch of equipment on hand to plow snow that happens only once every few years. It seldom is a problem for more than a couple of days.. witness todays thaw. We haven’t a big storm like this for about 5 years. I do, however, remember that a lot of snow and the lack of ability to deal with it cost an ACHD head his job in the late 70s or early 80s.

  14. Tom Anderson
    Dec 28, 2008, 12:14 pm

    TJ is right. On the RARE instance where the snow doesn’t melt off by noon that day, just live with it. We are such a spoiled rotten society of fools who moan and cry when we are inconvenienced in the least, that it is just sad. If you want to live in a perfect little bubble world, move down to Southern California. They have 80 degree summers and 70 degree winters.

  15. every time it snows, i shovel as quickly as i can. however sometimes, it is at midnight since i work two jobs, and am not always home when it has snowed. my husband is in a wheelchair, and shoveling snow is very difficult for him. and then someone has complained to the city that my sidewalks are not clear soon enough. I am flabbergasted, just looking around at all my neighbors who NEVER shovel. i think there are way too many whiners in this world. on christmas day, i was out shoveling and a couple guys stopped and helped me. What a great blessing!!!!!!!!!

  16. Tom Anderson
    Dec 28, 2008, 5:24 pm

    …another thought. I walked the dog the other night and the slickest area I found was a shoveled sidewalk that had turned to glare ice. All the snow areas were no problem at all.

    The story I’d like to hear is what is all of this de-icing chemical going to do to the fish in the river and eventually the ocean, and the people downstream who use the river for drinking water?

  17. Slimjim….Prophobe…any help or solutions for Ikalinski and many others like her who are unable to shovel snow. Come on Socialists…step up and enlighten us.

    EDITOR NOTE– Sounds like she has good neighbors–assume Northend as they have the most sidewalks. If she wants to share an address and phone, the GUARDIAN will act as contact point for any wishing to help.

  18. >> Get a life folks – see a walk or drive that isn’t cleared walk around it. Need to get around in snow – acquire a vehicle that is appropriate.<> Slimjim….Prophobe…any help or solutions for Ikalinski and many others like her who are unable to shovel snow. Come on Socialists…step up and enlighten us. <<

    On the sidewalk issue, this has nothing to do with socialism, but everything to do with libertarianism. It’s not about expecting things to be done for you, but about neighbors helping each other out. It’s just being a good neighbor to keep your sidewalks cleared of snow and it’s also being a good neighbor to clear someone else’s sidewalk who is incapable of doing it themselves…Of course, every-man-for-himself cowboys may feel this makes them too much of a do-gooder or girlie-man.

  19. Nemo…that self sufficiency is wonderful, until some little old lady falls on her butt and breaks a hip on the sidewalk you or some other self sufficient winner sort of forgot to shovel. At the very best you have some innocent in a lot of pain and at the worst, she has a lawyer and ‘your’ sidewalk becomes hers.

    I was not advocating the government stick its nose into the issue, but that adults behave like adults and shovel their sidewalks before someone innocent gets hurt.

  20. Random observations:

    – Wouldn’t perfectly-maintained winter roads attract a further influx of outsiders? Criminy, Mr. Guardian… look on the bright side! (I hope the word gets out that Boise SUCKS in the winter time!)

    – Isn’t this the perfect opportunity for those milquetoasts who drive big ol’ macho Ford Excursions and F350 dually turbo diesel super-duties, to be REAL heroes, assisting their helpless sedan-driving neighbors to get from place to place?

    – I was walking on N. Cole Road a week ago, navigating treacherous sidewalks. One of the worst was right in front of the “one call – that’s all” ambulance-chasing attorney’s office. I thought how ironic it would be, if I slipped and fell and called Bill Litster to sue him for damages.

    – Speaking of slipping and falling, let me quote Jack Handey on the subject: “Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, ‘What if I was an ant and she fell on me?’ Then it wouldn’t seem quite so funny.”

  21. I agree that one should help out one’s neighbors and in fact I do. I rather enjoy pushing the snow around with my show shovel, but this is really about a non-enforced law on the books. Even the city itself does not keep this law – in case you have noticed the sidewalks on the way down Capital Blvd. and by South Jr. High. (Monroe Grade School has done a very nice job over the holidays). Why do we have laws that the City does not keep and does not enforce?

  22. It is real humorous reading all you folks babble who have nothing to do but set at your warm computers and be the “arm chair quarter backs” of the Treasure Valley. Having just returned from several days in Portland and the Seattle area we have nothing to even comment about here. Try dealing with a foot or so of very wet cement called snow. The road authorities there don’t even know what a snow plow looks like, nor does the hardware store stock snow shovels. Everything but the main streets and freeways were impassable for a day or two around Christmas.
    Nice to be home.

  23. Most laws do not exist to make anyone safer but to serve as expressions of power and feel good, or to act as fail safe trip wires. If someone important or politically correct was to slip on an un-shoveled sidewalk, then the police could cite the law to punish the owner.

    Think about it for a moment. Every human activity is either taxed, regulated or controlled by government. Nothing anyone does is not first touched by government.

    Sit on your front lawn…the government determines just what part of that lawn is yours, regulates the water that goes on it, the fertilizer, and the hose and sprinkler construction. They tax the lawn as property. The chair you are sitting on is taxed and its construction regulated. The very air you breath is touched by government pollution regulations. The beer you lift, taxed and the content regulated and the can itself manufactured under government regulation and more taxes.

    Say you need to use the can…the toilet itself is regulated as to water flow, taxed, and the city has codes about the bathroom construction…

    Nothing one does is not touched by government. Snow removal is not unique.

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