Friday, December 19, 2008

King Richie's Bilandic moment?

Lots of folks are questioning the city's decision to privatize parking meters and raise rates. The minimal plowing and salting order for side streets (and less than usual for main streets) is icing on the cake for those who have their doubts. All the snow we're getting tonight makes this a less then cheery image.

Will this be King Richie's Bilandic moment, where he throws himself under the bus? In recent years, there has been no enforcement of the city's ordinance requiring property owners to keep sidewalks clear, so many pedestrians have gotten used to walking on well-cleared streets for safer footing. Now side streets are slick with black ice on most days. This winter, the safest place has been across snowy lawns, until those get glazed over with ice. Many El platforms hasn't been any better, as the CTA also seems to be skimping on snow and ice removal. Yesterday morning I was in downtown Evanston and major streets were glazed with ice - no salt in sight. Metra seems to be the only one doing the responsible, honorable thing and keeping their stations safe.

If you weren't here back in the winter of 1978-79 and you want a little more background, click here and here.

How many people will end up with chronic injuries due to preventable slip and falls or car crashes? You gotta wonder if city and CTA costs of defending and settling lawsuits for injury, wrongful death and property damage will greatly exceed savings on salt, trucks and personnel. And this comes soon after the news about how much the city saved with its long-term contract on road salt. Too bad he's not up for re-election this winter.

And the fun continues....

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