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Unlucky Turn: City Services Cause More Problems for Residents than Weather

Several residents expressed concern this weekend over the city’s snow removal policy, and one plans to file a grievance with the department of public services.

Updated: 12/16/13 5:03 pm -- adds comment 

As news broke on inclement weather over the weekend, several snow emergencies were issued across southeast Michigan. 

In Wyandotte and surrounding cities, a snow emergency is typically declared when 4 inches of snow or greater is forecasted. 

In the case of an emergency, Wyandotte Department of Public Services asks residents to remove their vehicles from city roads in order to provide sufficient plowing services.

“Per City Ordinance Section 2.5a ‘Abandoned Vehicles’: All vehicles must be moved every 48 hours. Failure to remove vehicles will result in towing, at the owner’s expense,” the city said.

However, in compliance with the law, many residents expressed concern this weekend over the city’s snow removal policy, and one plans to file a grievance with the department.  

“What disappoints and angers me is the fact that after I worked very hard to clear my sidewalks and street from cars, the snow plows come flying down...at top speed, throwing all of the snow from the street back onto our sidewalk,” said longtime resident Alexis Kur, who lives on the corner of Electric and Davis Street. 

Kur, a construction worker and freelance photographer, understands the city has a job to do, but says that it could be a little more conscientious in regards to the people they’re doing it for.

“They aren’t breaking the law, but they’re not being careful enough. It has been a problem over the years, and it’s progressively getting worse…The snowplow has gotten so close to the curb that it has broken branches off trees in my neighbors front yard.”

Kur said the trucks travel about 25 to 35 mph when plowing roads. "The plows are going too fast and it is dangerous."

“I know some snow will come back onto the driveways and sidewalks, (but) that is not what I am referring to. It's the snow that gets thrown 4 to 5 feet back onto the sidewalk," Kur said. 

Dave Rothermal, the city's sanitation supervisor, said today that "whenever you’re plowing a residential road, it’s going to push (snow) a little further into the driveway." 

In terms of plowing speed, trucks travel anywhere between 15 and 20 mph, Rothermal said. "You can’t go too fast because you’ll throw (snow) far and bury sidewalks, and that’s one thing we try not to do.”

Not to mention, Rothermal said, "it's going to look worse if the driveway has already been shoveled." 

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the city’s emergency responders? 

Michele December 16, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Was a snow emergency declared? If so, when?
bob December 16, 2013 at 12:57 PM
"In Wyandotte and surrounding cities, a snow emergency is typically declared when 4 inches of snow or greater is forecasted."
Suzi McAllister December 16, 2013 at 01:03 PM
If the plows don't clearly define the edges of the road, and the snow is followed by a cold snap, the snow left in the road can freeze solid. Next time the plows come through, they have to avoid these ruts or ruin the equipment, making the driving/parking area smaller when it snows next. If they go slowly through every street, being careful not to put snow on your sidewalk, they'll never get everyone plowed out. So your choices are: Avoid the curbs: one lane roads and/or broken equipment Go Slow: you may never have your street cleared before the next snow Snow on your sidewalk: Just pay attention and shovel after the plow goes by. People in Northern Michigan live like this every winter.
Michele December 16, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Bob, it may be typical, but it was not OFFICIALLY declared, and unless it's official, some people don't even bother to move their cars.
Nancy M. Knapp December 16, 2013 at 02:09 PM
I thought the plows should have been out sooner, even though that would mean going over the streets more than once. Unfortunately for me, I live in No Driveway Land and have to remain on high alert, listening for the snow plows. It would be a really nice thing if DPS sent someone knocking on doors to let us know they are coming - impractical as heck, but nice.
Earl of Sandwich December 16, 2013 at 04:31 PM
I called the city today to let them know what a great job they did.
Valerie December 16, 2013 at 05:02 PM
If you live in Wyandotte and we are scheduled to get a big snow...it's not rocket science, get your car off the road. Or dig it out your self and quit whining. This was the slowest clean up of side streets that I have seen in awhile, but the snow was coming down so fast on Saturday, it was impossible to keep up with. We drove through many cities and express ways on Sunday and none of them were very clear. I'm just thankful they were out there getting it done!
Me December 16, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Seriously?!?!? This isnt even a Wyandotte DPS truck or Wyandotte Street. If your going to write an article shouldnt you have the facts straight along with the pictures before you try to spread bad press??? Maybe you should have talked to a few other people instead of one resident because it seemd to me a lot of residents are satisfied with how the snow was handled. Also, I would like to thank the great DPS workers who had my street salted on Saturday, plowed on Sunday down to the pavement and plowed again on Monday! My street looked great and was down to the pavement Sunday afternoon. If you dont like your city services...MOVE!
Me December 16, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Oh yah, you can call a snow emergency all you want but when its not enforced it doesnt matter!
Andrew Thurlow (Editor) December 16, 2013 at 05:40 PM
All I can tell ya, Me, is it's just a picture. If you have a better one, please email me it. I would be happy to post it and give you credit. In terms of reporting, I spoke with several residents who were not satisfied with the services. Generally, in one incident, everyone tends to have the same complaint. Alexis had the best quotes, in my opinion, so I went with her stuff.
April Smith Ciolek December 16, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Having been out shopping today in a few other cities, as well as in Detroit…consider yourselves lucky. To the editor, did you speak with any residents who were happy? I'm realistic about the situation. It got resolved, a little slower than usual, but it got resolved. I'm happy.
Andrew Thurlow (Editor) December 16, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Unfortunately, I did not April. But that's why I wrote the story :) And it looks about 50/50 on Facebook, so I'll write a followup story later this week. Thanks for reading.
Dale Ave-Lallemant December 17, 2013 at 07:15 AM
No snow emergency was declared. Wyandottes ordinance 'asks' residence to move cars when larger storms are coming in. There is no requirement to move until an emergency is declared.
Theresa Jamula December 17, 2013 at 06:37 PM
I think the DPS does a great job. My cousin lives in Royal Oak in a very nice neighborhood and as of today, her streets have not been plowed or salted. In RO, they sometimes only salt the intersections in the local neighborhoods. Wyandotte is great when it comes to getting out there early and working through the night! I know it is a pain to clear out your driveway after the plow has been by, but it only took me 5 min to shovel it clean!
Driver11 December 18, 2013 at 06:13 AM
You REALLY going to whine about the pic at the start of this story?!?! Oh Boo Hoo thats not a Wyandotte truck and My street was down to the pavement post haste .So What and Big Deal...that Sir,is because you probably live on a Fire Route which were done first ,Id imagine,so you don't whine about the W.F.D. not getting there to save your dog house or whatever. Its Michigan,It Snows ,So get over it Move your vehicles ,shovel your walks ,go back inside.............later
Tracey December 18, 2013 at 08:26 AM
I've lived in Wyandotte for 15 years now and that's one thing you get to know well...get your car off the street when there's a big snow. Learn it. Remember it. Live it. If you don't have a driveway, pay attention to the areas they have marked off for storing your vehicle until they plow. Or do like our neighbors do...borrow a neighbor's driveway until the plowing is done. Most of the neighbors by me are kind enough to loan their larger driveways out to those who aren't lucky enough to have one.
Cathy Wilson December 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM
I am a senior with bad knees. But I shoveled my corner walks four times on Saturday. I have no driveway or anywhere else to move my car. The designated lot is nine blocks away. Am I supposed to drive there and sit in my car until my street is plowed? How would I know? Or walk the eight blocks home and back? This plan just does not work for everyone. No complaints. Just sorry I can't comply.
Andrew Mrozek December 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM
The past few seasons it's seemed to me the plows have been pushing limits once in a while as far as speed; slush thrown back onto the sidewalk only to freeze solid. Having said that I'd also like to say BRAVO Wyandotte DPS! No matter how much we get dumped on we KNOW the plows will have the streets open and darn quick! To the nay-sayers: YOU try maneuvering a truck around cars, curbs, and corners, while dodging tree limbs!
Kristina A. December 19, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Compared to other cities, we get our streets plowed very quickly. However I am sick and tired of all the homeowners that refuse to move their vehicles out of the streets and into their empty driveways - especially on the South end, where we have garages. I have lived here my entire life and wish the police would have their ticket books handy and start actually ticketing people, and have their cars towed. Talk about raking in the money (at least until people got the point). All the talk about ticketing is useless unless it's actually done. Our streets were pitiful - and yes the plow drivers were racing down 19th and Grove throwing the snow up to the sidewalk. We know we have to dig out our drive approaches, but seriously - the sidewalk??? Marshall and Ludington were a disaster - and these are streets that are high traffic since they around Madison and Lincoln Schools. The police should take a drive in the areas right before they start plowing and start ticketing and towing.....and believe me, once people get the sticker shock of a ticket and impound fee, they'll be moving their cars as soon as the flakes start.

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