Policy Institute monitors how well Chicago responded to recent snowstorm; City
earns “A” and “B+.”
CHICAGO – How well did Chicago government respond to the city’s latest snowstorm?
Tuesday’s snow gave the Illinois Policy Institute the
opportunity to rate Chicago’s overall job performance on snow removal and
salting. We monitored arterial roads including Michigan Avenue, LaSalle, and
“The city seems to have improved from last year’s performance,” said Kate Piercy, director of government reform at the Illinois Policy Institute, “but there is always room for improvement.”
Chicago received a better grade on both main and side road clearing this time around than what it received in an earlier review by the Institute on January
During the first performance review, trucks never cleared many of
the side roads the Institute monitored.
This time, main roads received an “A” on overall
performance, and although monitored side roads were not plowed on Wednesday
morning, by the afternoon, the Institute began seeing trucks clearing side
roads. According to WGN Breaking News Center, Chicago shifted its full
contingent of snow trucks from the main streets to the side streets at 5:30AM.
Consequently, side road plowing and salting performance received a “B+.”
“The City of Chicago has the responsibility of
keeping roads safe and passable,” said Kate Piercy, director of government
reform at the Illinois Policy Institute.“Police, firefighters and ambulances rely on it. Schools and businesses
need it. Businesses need it for employees and customers. Taxpayers pay for it.
Without clear roads, lives are endangered and money is lost.”
Other cities have specific time standards:
Cities outside Chicago have performance
goals for plowing and salting within a certain amount of time, and they make
these standards known to residents on official government websites. Chicago
should meet the same or better standards and have all roads clear by at least
12 hours after snow stops and within 4 hours, have main roads clear. Chicago’s
Department of Streets and Sanitation’s website does not provide specific
performance standards regarding how quickly roads should be cleared.
- The City of Naperville begins
an all-out plowing effort when “two inches of snow accumulate and are still
falling, clearing all streets within 14 hours after the snow stops falling,” with
the condition that “heavier snows often take longer to clear.”
- The City of Wheaton commits to salting streets
once snow or icing conditions begin, starts plowing after 2 inches of
accumulation and reapplies salt after plowing.
- The City of Joliet’s
website says they “mobilize crews when
there is a measurable accumulation of snowfall or if the winter mix is causing a hazardous driving
situation such as freezing rain,” and a goal of cleaning all streets within 12
hours after the snow stops.
The Illinois Policy Institute will soon release a comprehensive report on the economic and safety implications of snow response effectiveness, which will be available at www.illinoispolicy.org.
snow clearance performance in various areas of Chicago are available
the full report here