Local News

Meeker's Possible Snow Solution Draws Icy Reception

Posted January 30, 2004

— After this week's storms, people questioned whether road crews threw enough resources at the winter mess that gripped the Triangle area.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker has an idea to tackle the next storm. But some people are trashing his idea before it even hits the street.

Most drivers found out the hard way how tough it was to get a grip on the recent icy streets.

"It's an ice-skating rink," a driver said. "That's all it is. It's ridiculous."

As rough as it was for the average sliding Joe, try clearing 1,500 miles of residential streets. That is what Raleigh street crews faced.

"Given the equipment and the personnel we have, the crews did very well this time," Meeker said. "One can certainly ask the question: 'Should we have more equipment? Should we have more personnel?' The (city) council will take a look at that."

Meeker said he will put some new ideas on the table.

"Maybe trying to put something on the trash trucks, so we could use them to plow, as well as having salt spreaders on those," Meeker said. "That hasn't been done."

Raleigh has a fleet of 60 trash trucks. Most of the drivers WRAL talked to had not heard of the idea of putting plows on the trucks. When told about it Friday, most thought it was a bad idea.

"If they did that, they probably would have to train the guys because so many of the streets are narrow, and the terrain is bad, which probably would cause more accidents and cost the city more money, which they're trying to save," trash truck driver Ronnie Thomas said. "It could be spent better somewhere else."

"[Meeker's idea] probably would be ridiculous. Some of these neighborhoods have cars parked every which way, and you go into them turning around and all," trash truck driver Calvin Hunter said.

Most trash truck drivers said they would be willing to give Meeker's idea a try. The mayor also wants to try another new approach.

"Possibly spreading more salt before the event," Meeker said, "even though, quite often, that would mean you'd spread salt, and there is no snow event."

Regardless of the ideas and mixed reviews, everyone just hopes that next time, Raleigh is a little less slippery.

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