Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Planning begins for the next Big One

You may have noticed that the City came out with its new Snow Plan yesterday. The official Snow Map puts Madison Park squarely into the Level 2 category: if it snows, E. Madison Street will be plowed to provide one “bare and wet” lane in each direction. Presumably this means quickly plowed, which if true would represent a major improvement on whatever City plan might have been operative during the last Big Snow. As we well remember, E. Madison Street was not plowed for several days after the infamous Winter 2008 snowstorm hit town, and Madison Park was effectively cut off from the rest of the City during that time. We’ve changed mayors since then, and the new one commits to doing a better job.

The Madison Park Community Council (MPCC), however, is not waiting around to see how things work out if we do have a big snowstorm this year. The Council is taking action to implement its own plan to assist Madison Park residents who are negatively impacted by a snow event. Dubbed the Emergency Snow Brigade, the idea is to “help those who can’t get groceries, prescriptions, or get to a critical doctor’s appointment or other services,” according to Über-Volunteer Gene Brandzel. The MPCC is organizing volunteers to serve as Block Coordinators and as drivers for residents in Washington Park, Denny-Blaine, Broadmoor, and the rest of Madison Park.

Madison Parkers who have vehicles capable of operating in extreme snow conditions are especially needed. Not only will they be critical in helping people get essential services within the neighborhood, they may be needed to taxi children and adults who are unable to get back home because of snow. Pet rescues may also be part of the job, says the Council’s Kathleen O’Connor. Block Coordinators, meanwhile, will be responsible for checking on their immediate neighbors and for communicating with MPCC “dispatchers” to see that drivers and other volunteers are directed to those with special needs. It might be necessary, for example, to shovel walks and stairs for those who can’t do so or to drive the elderly to a place that is heated, if the neighborhood experiences a power failure.

The MPCC is looking for volunteers to fill all of these roles: driver, Block Coordinator, and non-driver volunteer. If you are interested in helping out, Gene Brandzel, the Council’s Lead Coordinator, would like to hear from you. He can be reached at or (206) 524-2115.

Don’t assume, by the way, that just because E. Madison Street is scheduled for priority plowing that Madison Park will not be negatively impacted by a big snow. Even if the City fulfills its commitment to keep that major thoroughfare relatively clear, residential streets will not be plowed. The only exceptions are those blocks of 42nd and 43rd Avenues E. that are part of the bus route (primarily north of E. Madison). McGilvra Boulevard is a Level 3 arterial under the City’s Snow Plan, where only “curves, hills, and stopping zones” will be treated. Cliff Mass's Weather blog, by the way, has an excellent overview of the City's snow plans and the likelihood of weather forecasters getting it right this year.
[Photos of the 2008 winter snow: upper photo shows E. Madison Street during the storm, courtesy of Dorian G. Muncey Interiors; middle photo shows 43rd Avenue E. at Madison Park Beach, courtesy of Sky Records; and bottom photo shows the lifeguard chair at the Beach, courtesy of Joan Loeken. Thanks to the many MPB readers who provided photos. We will be doing a Winter 2008 retrospective as we get closer to the snow season, using more of the great photos we received.]

1 comment:

  1. Great plan, but how does the MPCC plan on implementing an "Emergency Snow Brigade" before the next snow? How will this plan work if the there is no power, which we've experienced more that once in The Park!

    Lastly, how does the MPCC plan on getting the word out? The people that may need this service most, may never hear of it!


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