An Open Letter to City Council on Lack of Snow Removal


Dear Mayor & Members of City Council:

I’m asking that among the seven of you, is there anyone willing to speak up and address the lack of snow removal in our city at your Council Meeting on Monday?

Sunday morning, while driving downtown, I noticed that the right turn lane from Campbell Ave on the corner of the back of City Hall (across from the Roanoke Times) was still blocked by snow. (Actually, ice mounds at this point.) Over two weeks since this record setting snow, why are plows not clearing such obvious obstructions?

Throughout our city, sidewalks are blocked by mounds of ice from, in particular, businesses who piled mountains of snow on sidewalks to clear their parking lots. Some that are directly in view from the Mayor’s Office and the City’s Manager’s office had at best 10 feet of snow on the sidewalks from clearing their parking lots. It is obvious these businesses have no intention of opening up the sidewalk even after two weeks.  I asked code to follow up, but of course no action was taken. This is certainly understandable days and or at best a week after such a storm.  But, no one is going back and making ANY effort to clear these mounds of ice off of our sidewalks to open them up for pedestrian use.  Just drive down Williamson Road for but one example.

Another horrible situation is on Tazewell Ave. S.E. near the Rescue Mission. It’s bad enough for all the homeless but now they can’t even use the sidewalk and are forced to walk out in the street.

Why after the storm, after the initial work was completed, didn’t snow plows go through the Market area in the dead of night and clear snow from the curb lanes?  Four days after the storm I finally got my car out and went to the Market area for Christmas Shopping.  It was still such a mess I just left and went to Valley View. I wonder if the business’s there have any idea of how much money they lost before Christmas due to the cities failure to properly clear the area?

Now with temperatures predicted to barely go above freezing for a week or more, are you going to allow this situation to correct itself via the sun or start issuing citations to make our primary pedestian-ways passable?

I have sent a copy of this letter to our City Manager and have received no response.  Maybe her replacement will be amiable to addressing citizens concerns. Why don’t police officers notice such traffic obstructions and call in and ask that they be cleared?  I have lived in NYC and Washington, DC. One would never see this situation two weeks after a major snow storm and city plows parked and not being used.

Is there any leadership in this administration who will address these failures and take steps to correct their cause(s)?

E. Duane Howard
Roanoke , Va.