Dear Genesee County: Why Aren’t Neighborhoods Being Plowed? [OPINION]
Snow isn't an anomaly here in Michigan, so why aren't residential streets plowed within a reasonable time?
This is our third winter here in the mitt. We've lived in Wisconsin and Washington, and believe it or not, winters here are a LOT less harsh than Wisconsin. However, growing up there, I have one very distinct memory: snow removal made the news EVERY TIME there was a winter storm.
"The plows and salt trucks here in Milwaukee are ready for tomorrow's storm!"
That was just a given. They salted before, during and after, and plowed all throughout the storm. I thought this was a standard snow removal practice for any city and/or state in the Midwest.
I was wrong.
To put it in perspective, I lived in Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee, with about 47,000 people. Flint proper has a population of 99,000, not including surrounding areas. So this isn't a size issue, it's a city issue.
We live on the border of Burton and Grand Blanc, but Burton is responsible for our plowing. Every time it snows, we have to call the city and leave a voicemail (because nobody EVER answers the phone), asking them to plow our subdivision. There have been several days where our daycare provider can't even drive in, and I've had to stay home from work. My car stays in the garage most of the winter because it's not big enough to navigate our streets.
According to the city of Burton's website, they plow within 2-3 days during a normal snow event. For residential streets, we have found this to NOT be true.
Major streets? Sure. But it doesn't really matter if we can't get out of our subdivision.
I belong to a "Flint Strong" Facebook page, which highlights the good things about Flint. However, after the last two storms, nobody had anything good to say about the plowing situation. 56 comments on ONE THREAD, naming local streets that hadn't been plowed more than 48 hours after the storm.
The joke in our neighborhood is that it'll melt before they plow. It's a mess, but why? This isn't Hawaii, where snow is an unprecedented event that we're not equipped for. It's covered in our property taxes, which keep going up every year. So why aren't our streets plowed in a timely fashion, or, at ALL?
Last week, I had to shovel the street in front of our house, just so the mail could be delivered. When the street isn't plowed, our mail doesn't show up. It's a domino effect, and it's ridiculous.
What's the answer? Obviously, the city of Flint has failed its citizens on many more levels than snow removal. We can all complain, but we need to be heard. I call the city of Burton EVERY TIME it snows and leave voicemail messages, with no shame. Let's try to be heard the best we can. Here's the contact info for street maintenance for the city of Flint:
702 W 12th St
Flint, MI 48503
Phone: (810) 766-7343
If you're in the same boat as us, here's the info for the city of Burton:
Chris Howser, Street Superintendent
Phone: 810-742-9230 ext. 3105