Since the early December 2005 snow storm that caused me a 8 hour commute from the O'Hare Airport area to the south side of Chicago (the same night of a plane crash just outside of Midway Airport), I've noticed more and more (especially this incredible winter), of roads that were not shoveled or salted and thus astronomical commute times.
I understand a lot of municipalities have budget issues but taxpayers are still paying full taxes and those of us that take the Illinois Tollway system our IPasses are still being billed yet the roads are like our area never sees snow. C'mon we have had over four feet of show this winter, yet still many of us have to go to work and have to deal with unacceptable winter conditions.
Yes I hear only essential travel is recommended but going to work for many of us is essential, unless you work for a school district (who have had a plethora of snow days), the expectation is that you report to work unless you plan to use vacation time and with all the storms we've had no one wants to burn up days off now.
Now this most recent snow storm happened on a federal holiday yet major thoroughfares like west 159th Street through the south suburbs looked untouched in the afternoon despite lighter traffic loads and plenty of forecasting from the local weathermen. I had to drop off my broken down car and then pick it back up from the dealership and a usual 20 minute drive was more than doubled and was "white knuckle driving". Local police had to temporarily cut access to streets to help stuck cars in deep snow that hasn't seen a plow in hours or all day.
This is an issue of public safety, I was listening to AM radio and every expressway had more than doubled drive times, some over 2 hours, like I said it was a federal holiday and how could IDOT not be prepared?
You hear of so many spin outs and car in ditches, now true some of these drivers are over aggressive in inclement conditions or have SUVs that give a false sense of security with four wheel drive that still needs to be driven with care and common sense. But having tackled these bad roads in Will, DuPage & Cook counties over several storms it seems like the rules of the road is that drivers have to fend for themselves which just leads to fender benders and horrific conditions that mean hours on the road.
Back in 1979 voters spoke with the ballot when the city of Chicago was ruled with lackadaisical leadership and change was brought to the fifth floor of city hall to show dissatisfaction with snow removal. Many of us in other counties and municipalities need to hold our leaders feet to the inches of snow we must drive through to handle our daily commutes and daily business.
Its simply disregard for public safety when roads are not safe and even when you give yourself extra time to travel and you are still late or just get to your destination on time. It costs us taxpayers extra time in lost wages, extra fuel and pure frustration when our hard work ethic is not equaled with the public servants who can't provide us with safe roads.
Hopefully we are ending this winter of discontent and guess what under all that snow is potholes, uneven surfaces and roads in need of new steel re-bar and grading. But before that are primaries for both local and statewide offices, we need to remember days like this when its time to see if those that lead us have earned their seat or need to be pushed out like the snow they didn't remove from our roads.
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