Lexington snow removal neglects student neighborhoods

The city’s snow crews first clear major streets like Limestone, but neighborhood roads in student neighborhoods often go untouched for days after a storm. Photo by Joel Repoley | Staff

Editorial staff

When heavy snow falls, many students living off campus assume they will not be able to leave their houses safely for days at a time. 

Student neighborhoods and side streets — like those near State Street and off Euclid Avenue — are often plowed only once or never, forcing residents to drive or walk on slippery, snow-covered streets.

During the most recent snow storm, Lexington did a good job plowing and clearing the main arteries like Nicholasville Road, Main Street, Red Mile Road and Euclid Avenue. These streets are listed as high priorities in the city’s Snow and Ice Control Plan for 2015-16. 

Some neighborhood streets, however, are not ranked at all. According to the plan, the city clears any unranked streets “as time permits and weather conditions warrant.”

This policy could explain why some neighborhoods remain largely unplowed and unnavigable days after the snow stops falling. 

Lexington should rank all neighborhood streets and continue sending plows until the streets are clear — or at least mostly clear. 

Marketing junior Sumner Franklin lives on State Street. When the last big snow storm hit on Friday, Jan. 22, Franklin said State Street remained untouched until the following Monday night or Tuesday morning. 

While some students celebrated the heavy snowfall by tying sleds to pickup trucks or Jeeps, others could not move their cars from parking spaces on the side of the road. 

Writing, rhetoric and digital studies senior Sean Murphy, who lives on University Avenue, said he was not sure if plows cleared his street at all. Murphy said his roommate managed to get to work following the storm, but he assumed his street would only be clear when the snow melted. 

“(My roommates) were snowed in a couple of days,” Murphy said. “I had to walk to the gas station to get some stuff for them, because they weren’t driving anywhere.” 

UK did a good job clearing its streets and sidewalks, and Lexington should follow suit. While the main roads are more important, the city should not stop until the job is done.

Lexington spokeswoman Susan Straub said the city rents extra equipment when needed, but it does not plan on buying more snow plows. The amount of money Lexington spent clearing snow during the recent storm is not yet available.

It may not be worth it to buy plows considering how rarely the city sees heavy snow storms, but the system of clearing streets leaves many residents — especially in student neighborhoods — stranded in the cold.

When the next big snowfall hits, the city should find out which streets are neglected. Many side streets and residential areas need to be accounted for so people living there get the treatment they need.

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