Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Removal, Binghamton Style

It appears Binghamton is trying to vie with Washington, DC for the title of "worst snow removal in the United States".

You'd think it never snowed here.

What is even more ridiculous is that neighboring communities are doing fine with the exact same snow.  For example, take the commute to work.  Yesterday, I took Main Street, which runs through several municipalities.  Through Johnson City the road was fine.  As soon as you crossed the border into Binghamton, and the key phrase here is "as soon as", Main Street became a solid sheet of ice.  It must have been fun to some watching vehicles stopping at lights and then attempting to get going again when the light turned, and the resulting mayhem.   It was not funny to the drivers.

Then there was this morning.  Spouse took me to work.  We took a main road, Riverside Drive, which runs through both Johnson City and Binghamton.  As long as we traveled in Johnson City, all was well.  Literally at the Binghamton border, they may as well had a sign saying "abandon hope and your cars, all ye who enter here."  I mean literally, because various drivers had slid into snowbanks on the sheet of ice.  If we didn't have anti-lock brakes, we may have suffered the same fate.

This morning, my office was somewhat of a ghost town.  People coming from outlying areas reported only the usual amount of trouble you could expect from 14 plus inches of snow, until they got to Binghamton.  One unlucky person ended up (in Binghamton) in a ditch.  Others never got out at all because no one had bothered to plow their street.  One lady, with an unplowed street, took the bus that runs along...you guessed it, Main Street.  It took her 1 3/4 hours to get to work, a normal 10 minute drive.

It isn't like this storm was a surprise:  see, for example, this article on the "Lindsay's Snowstorm" so dear to the hearts of people like me who lived in NYC in 1969, for an example of a large city caught off guard.  But Binghamton-shame on you.  You had no excuse.

Well, enough (or I'll have to change the title of this blog to "Rantin' With AM".

So, what is the story?  I suspect City government is going to be yelled at by a lot of very unhappy people.  Considering it wouldn't take much to plunge Binghamton into a death spiral (the "burnt out industrial town" referred to so many times), this is not a wise way to spend your residents' taxes, Binghamton.

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