Thursday, January 20, 2005

Raleigh Storm Observations

Some Raleigh storm observations here, here, and here.

It took me about an hour to get to work this morning, a little longer than usual, but I took it easy and drove through the city rather than try my luck with the Beltline, especially after a tractor-trailer wrecked into a mini-van near my neighborhood this morning.

There were cars ditched all along Western Blvd. and New Bern Ave. I can imagine a lot of people just gave up with Western and decided to walk yesterday. The Neuse River bridge in Knightdale is a little slippery this morning, but the on/off-ramps from I-64 are atrocious.

I was listening to WPTF this morning and a couple things came to mind.


  1. People that grew up in the North or Midwest, stop talking about how you "know how to drive in this stuff". No one ever has to drive on ice in the Northeast. I have lived and worked in a couple different places, and while most places didn't get a tremendous amount of snow, my hometown of Pittsburgh has more hills than anywhere (except maybe Cincinnati), which dramatically complicated snow and ice. I never had to drive on ice, ever...not in Pittsburgh, not in Washington D.C., not in Baltimore, not in Philadelphia, not even in Annapolis. The roads were heavily salted and the only thing I ever had to contend with was thick powder or slush.

    Downshifting doesn't work on ice - only one thing does - chains. Given my experience here over the last couple years with the total lack of any road preparation that occurs, I'm going to get me a set of emergency road chains.

  2. A caller this morning talked about the Governor's request that "everyone stay off the roads". He said this was unacceptable for businesses in the area, and business needs to drive change here. He couldn't be more right. There are over 1.4 million people in the Raleigh-Durham metro area - this is a big city now, and it's going to have big city problems. Kids stranded at school, major roads turned into parking lots...Wake County needs to improve its preventative capacity, even if a storm like this only happens once a year.

    The thing is, it doesn't happen just once a year. It happens almost three times a year, and for about 12 days, the area is under a sheet of ice. I did a cost-benefit analysis on the City of Raleigh's winter road maintenance program, and I found it was sufficient. It showed when I hit Poole Road in the city yesterday, it was like night vs. day from Poole Road in the county.

    This summer, I'm going to take my methodology and apply it to Wake County. I believe I'm going to find a much different story.

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