I only drive on the “emergency snow routes” in Helena to get to work.
Yesterday, despite a week’s warning about the coming snow, when I tried to drive on those identified snow routes, as always, they were unplowed messes and drivers with cars far better than my humble ride were sliding around dangerously.
And to be clear, because I had an appointment today, I was driving on those routes at 10:00 a.m.
The roads maintained by the state, however, were plowed and passable. As they always seem to be.
Even though the state, which I’ve heard is facing some financial difficulties, can manage to plow its roads and despite agreement that cuts across partisan lines about this issue over the past few winters, the City of Helena seems unwilling or unable to develop a snow removal plan that will make the major roads of our city safe for drivers and pedestrians.
Given that I haven’t turned in my ballot for city commission yet, I’m inclined to vote for a more conservative candidate who might actually attempt to solve this problem. I’ve never found the “why is the city debating global issues instead of doing the central task of the city” argument to be very persuasive, but I might now.
These streets are dangerous. Downtown, they stifle economic activity. The center of our downtown, Last Chance Gulch, may never get plowed this winter if the past few are any indicator of what we should expect.
It’s time for a change. Unless someone can convince me that voting for the status quo will somehow improve this fundamental city service, despite years of the problem not being solved, I’m going to vote for that change and hope for the best.