City officials stand by response to Friday storm as complaints about residential roads continue to pour in

Residential streets remained iced over Tuesday evening.
Residential streets remained iced over Tuesday evening.(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Jan. 21, 2020 at 7:18 PM CST
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From emails to Facebook messages and complaints to the city, it's clear many Lincoln people are unhappy with icy residential streets.

Despite those complaints, city officials are standing by their response and said they won't be making any changes.

"We have to prioritize," Interim Director of Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Tom Casady said. "We're taking care of the arterials, bus routes and school zones and that's the only sensible way to do this, it really is. If I could change the weather, I would."

City council members 10/11 NOW spoke with said the opposite.

"We could do better in the future on residential streets and side streets," Roy Christensen, at-large city council member said.

Christensen said he's gotten countless calls from constituents complaining about the roads.

City council chair Jane Raybould said the same.

"There are no excuses, we need to start addressing residential streets," Raybould said.

This discussion comes just shy of a year since the council voted unanimously to form a Snow Removal Task Force hoping it would lead to changes this winter.

"I think you'll see there's more public input as a result of putting these folks together," said then-council member Leirion Gaylor Baird.

Now mayor, Gaylor Baird didn't comment on the city's response to the ice but complimented the crews that cleared the arterial streets and thanked residents for staying patient.

In the same release from the Mayor's Office, Casady said the task force made good recommendations, but it would take time to implement them.

Casady also said the response to this storm wouldn't have been impacted by those changes because the weather conditions were unusual and made things particularly difficult.

"Time is a very important resource and that's what we ran out of in this situation," Casady said.

Casady also said the city only has 23 material spreaders, around five of those aren't working so on top of not having enough time, they didn't have enough resources to treat all 1,700 miles of residential streets.

"If we had unlimited resources and could treat all roads the same, treating with brine, plowing them during snowfall, spreading materials, they'd be in better shape, but you have to work with the resources you have," Casady said.

Currently, the city spends about 4 million dollars a season on snow removal.

Casady said if every road was treated the same as arterial roads it would more than double that cost.

City council members said it could be worth it, and they'll look at expanding the snow removal budget for next year.

"We need to reassess how we're setting up the budget so we can provide those resources to most residential streets," Raybould said.

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