Editorial | Streets of dreams
January 6, 2009 · Updated 3:38 PM
The city, for its part, seems genuinely committed to emergency preparedness. But no matter what, not everyone will be satisfied. Some Islanders — perhaps a lot more than some — were unhappy about how long it took for their streets to be cleared of snow and ice over the holidays. To make matters worse, trash piled up and spilled onto streets and sidewalks. Yuck. Others wanted selective plowing so that kids and families could slide down hilly streets — the abundant mostly dry snow was a golden opportunity for fun that presents itself only every couple of years. The city, of course, must plow streets so that mail and emergency services can get through. On the other hand, a few streets can and should be reserved for some tubing and sliding.
The purchase of street-clearing equipment for a 50-year storm may seem wise and necessary in January, but will not seem so come July. Yes, some streets were barely impassable, but unlike the winter of 2006 - 2007, we were warm — there was power for computers, furnaces and televisions. Efforts by the city to sweep up leaves and debris in the weeks before the storms certainly helped keep city streets and intersections from flooding as the snow melted.
That said, we have high hopes for the work of the city in the coming year.
We hope that the safety and traffic issues with the intersection of Island Crest Way at Merrimount will be resolved. If a traffic light is not to be installed there, then the little sticks and curbs need to be somehow better lit. They are difficult to see unless you are right on top of them. Adding some kind of lighting would help those who are unschooled in the deft maneuvers executed by South-end residents in the know. Another wish for the coming year is that the traffic light will be installed sooner rather than later at S.E. 40th Street and 86th Avenue S.E. We cannot help but wonder why the light was not installed during the two-plus weeks of winter break after the fiasco there in September. The back-ups around the high school at 8 a.m. are really a nightmare. Why is it that the elementary schools have help directing traffic, but not the high school? Teenagers need more guidance when driving or walking than elementary school students who are still young enough to follow directions.
Finally, we applaud personal responsibility, thank those who shovel sidewalks and drive with care. We cheer patience and pedestrians who make themselves visible to drivers in the dark winter months.
Happy New Year.