The abysmal snow-removal policies of Great Bend must change. Sunday afternoon, as I sat at the intersection of 10th and Patton, I wondered why Patton road south of the intersection was perfectly clear, while not a single street in Great Bend was free of snow. On my short drive to work around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, I wondered why so many cars were stuck on major streets. Multiple cars were stuck at the intersections along 24th Street, for example, with our residents frantically trying to figure out what to do.
When snow removal does occur it happens too late. The time to start clearing is not at 8 a.m., the time to clear snow is before the traffic hits, before our residents head to work, and before our children leave for school. The city undoubtedly spends a hefty sum on snow removal currently, but does it really use these funds in a wise manner? It seems the only real snow removal is done by heavy equipment, which is enormously expensive to operate. Every snow storm seems to bring a familiar sight: a city dump truck with a sand spreader on the back and a plow on the front. Yet we constantly watch as these trucks drive past with their plows raised and unused. Why, then, is there a seemingly deliberate effort not to plow our streets?
The choice to not remove snow in a timely manner (or at all) creates an atmosphere that does not support our Great Bend residents or businesses. Without a doubt, every business in Great Bend saw a huge decline in traffic last week and every resident saw in incredible loss of access to basic services. This not only results in lost revenue to our residents’ businesses, but it results in lost hours and wages to their employees. In turn, our resident’s loss of income results in less spending at our businesses. The cold does not seem to stop people from getting out, but when we can’t navigate our city streets, we stay home. We aren’t able to make our much-needed medical appointments, we lose wages, and we shudder to think about what access might be delayed or unavailable in a real emergency.
I ask: why would the city continue this archaic ritual that clearly goes against the safety and welfare of our residents? After a year or two of living in Great Bend I remember asking our Mayor why the city didn’t plow our streets. His response was that the city doesn’t want to block peoples’ drive ways. This is in contrast to the town I grew up in, north of Kansas City, where it was known that you would spend 30 minutes digging out the end of your driveway, but where you would be guaranteed the benefit of cleared roads.
So what do you think fellow Great Bendians? Is it okay to spend 30 minutes clearing the end of your driveway after the plow goes by in order to have clean, clear, safe roads to drive on, or would you rather have snow covered, difficult to navigate roads? I think our city might want to hear your thoughts on the matter: 620-793-4111.
Dr. David J Hart DDS