Downtown streets in the winter: good, bad, or ugly?

Downtown building owner and resident Bart ‘put your money where your mouth is’ de Malignon has a letter to the editor in this week’s Northfield News titled, Downtown streets aren’t that clean.

Bart de MalignonWith all due respect to our city workers and their late-night shifts, our downtown streets are a mess. Intersections, crosswalks and curbs are full of snow and slush. According to Joel Walinski, “The city’s standard is to plow streets – curb to curb – within twelve hours after the snow ends.” Saying it doesn’t make it so.

I walked through Bridge Square at noon on Thursday, the 24th, and the streets are still a mess. Friends and family visiting from other communities ask me, “What gives with the snow removal?” If downtown building owners, tenants and residents are required to park off-street at night from December to March, why can’t the city meet their standard and really plow “curb-to-curb?”

Here’s a link to the article in last week’s Northfield News that  Bart was responding to: How they plow: City, county, MnDOT march to own beats.



  1. I was really happy with Bart’s letter.

    Last week there was a huge pile of snow in the handicap parking spot in front of the Historical Society. The city cannot let that happen.

    February 1, 2008
  2. Steve Wilmot said:

    Let’s also try to get the crosswalks cleaned out too! Consistently there are problems by the city lot next to the library (southwest corner of 3rd and Washington) and at 6th and Water at the River Park Mall. Sidewalks need to be cleared all the way to the street at every intersection, not just the ones where it is easy to maneuver snow removal equipment.

    February 1, 2008
  3. We live near a park paved walk, and I am ashamed that we spend and plan for these lovely walk throughs, and several months out of the year, they are impassable. We have tons of dog walkers in our neighborhood who walk two or three times a day, and have to avoid an entire half mile just cuz the city
    doesn’t deem it possible to make a straight thru pass on a little ridiing snow plow that would take maybe twenty minutes two or three times a month. Sad, but true.

    February 2, 2008
  4. John S. Thomas said:

    The same situation exists in Sibley Swale park. There is a path from Fremont Street east up to Sibley school.

    Students must walk int he dark, in the street, because there are no sidewalks, while a perfectly good path through the park goes unplowed. They do the path through the park from Prairie to the school, but not this one.

    I would like to see it plowed. It doesn’t have to be day one, but it would be nice for our children’s safety.

    February 2, 2008
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    It seems to me that the City has a harder time dealing with the 1-3 inch snowfalls downtown than the heavy stuff. Here are 4 photos from Tues. morning showing the soon-to-be-frozen slop along the curb, left over from Monday’s snowfall which ended early/mid afternoon.
    IMG_0186 IMG_0183 IMG_0184 IMG_0185

    February 6, 2008
  6. Yesterday, I got out of my car on Division Street and I was walking towards the sidewalk and I fell on my ass! It’s nice and slick out there again!

    February 12, 2008
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    After a 2-inch snowfall this week, the City did an overnight cleanup (on Thurs) of downtown streets and curbs, removing all the ice and gunk from previous minor snowfalls. It’s looking very spiffy, IMHO.

    Has anyone noticed?

    February 16, 2008
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    Hey, kudos to City Hall for being responsive. From Al Roder’s Feb. 15 weekly memo:

    Staff has have been out plowing and cleaning walks on those small snowfall events these past several weeks. Early Friday morning, Equipment Operators Steve Petricka, Steve Malecha, and Bryan Haugen removed snow from the curb lines downtown. Small snows are somewhat tougher to deal with than those over 2 inches. At less than 2 inches it is not economically or operationally prudent to include snow removal from the downtown as part of the snow cleanup operation; the costs for snow removal averages $3500 – $4000 per event, the snow amount having minimal impact on the cost. However, due to the amount of snow that has accumulated over time it was decided to have the snow removed so the remaining snow and ice could melt out of the street.

    Just a note of recognition, Mechanic Ryan Kiefer is the individual who is responsible for keeping our snow removal equipment in working order and ready for the next event. A thankless job at times, but much appreciated.

    February 18, 2008

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