Reader: There Is Snow Plowing in Denver?

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On Thanksgiving Day, Denver drivers weren't giving thanks for the job that the city had (or hadn't) done clearing the roads in the wake of Tuesday's big storm.

After another storm earlier this year, we'd spoken with Nancy Kuhn, public-information director for the Department of Public Works, to get an idea of Denver's policies regarding plowing. "The plows typically go out when snow starts to accumulate on the city's main streets," she told us. "There might be a situation where we decide to drop de-icer on the bridges and overpasses when we get some precipitation but snow isn't accumulating yet — where it's snowing but the streets are just wet and it's likely to freeze overnight. If it's a big snow event, though, we bring in all the drivers and start our twelve-hour shifts."

The snow that fell November 25 and November 26 was definitely a big event, and yesterday many readers labeled the city's efforts as too little, too late. And then there was this question from Chris:

There is snow plowing in Denver?

Adds Jason:

 Highways are good but every side street is garbage.

Notes Jacob: 

Never saw one come down 6th.

Responds Michelle: 

Lived here for five years; I have never once seen a residential plow come down my street!

Pat replies: 

Saw a ton of plows...zero with their buckets down.

Says Elizabeth: 

Exactly! Went to Thornton for Thanksgiving and the streets were dry!!!!

Suggests Michele: 

They should have laid down more deicer. Very disappointing to come back from the Springs and see the crappy conditions.

Comments Eddie: 

I’ve lived in multiple cities in the Midwest.. this plowing is horrible.. maybe call Wisconsin,Minnesota, Iowa for tips.. never have I seen this weak of an effort

And Paul concludes: 

 I've lived in the Denver metro for two years. This last snow storm has had the worst results from snow plowing, almost as if nothing was done. Most major roads were barely clear. Are products being used? Roads were only clear today because of the sun. Not really acceptable.

Here's how Kuhn describes Denver's arsenal:  "We have seventy big plows, which cover the main streets, and we have 36 residential plows — four-by-four pickups with plows that we deploy when we do the residential program. The seventy plows run regularly on the main streets in the larger snow event. We have enough drivers to put out all seventy of them."

And how do you know what qualifies as a main street?

"We like to describe the main streets as most streets with stripes," Kuhn explains. "If you see a street with a stripe down the center, that's what we consider a main street. It's usually a mix of arterial roadways — those larger roads, like Broadway, Lincoln, Alameda — and what we call collector streets, which connect to the arterials. And residential streets are streets without stripes. If you're driving down a street and there's no stripe, that's considered a residential street in our program."

And chances are good it's still full of icy ruts today. What did you think of the city's snow removal efforts? Post a comment or email your thoughts to editorial@westword.com.

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