Editor’s note: Gimme 5 is a five-question interview on a topic of local interest.
How many miles of streets do you have to keep clear?
We have about 350 miles of streets in the city, so it’s a big job.
What are the biggest things people do to slow you down?
The whole odd-even parking thing is probably the biggest. If they park on the correct side of the street, it really helps our operation. If cars are parked on both sides, it can be hard to get down the street with a 12-foot truck and an 8-foot plow on the side. The reason for the policy is we want to switch and plow on one side one day and then come back and plow the other side the next day. If people can remember that, it really helps.
We also have problems sometimes with people throwing snow back out in the street after we’ve plowed. That just causes problems for other people traveling on that street.
Why do some parked cars get almost buried with snow when snow plows go by?
I feel bad about it, but there’s really nothing we can do about it if people leave their cars parked on the side of the road where we have to plow.
How do you deal with places where cars didn’t allow you to plow?
We go back and keep working at it. We call it clean-up plowing. We go through neighborhoods to try to push that snow back so we can get the full width of the street again.
Are there any infamous stories of bad behavior by residents related to snow plowing in Eau Claire?
I don't know about infamous, but we’ve had plow operators who have had people throw shovels at their windshield. I understand that driveways do end up with snow on them and it’s one of those things property owners hate to deal with. We don’t want this snow anymore than anyone else, but we have a job to do.
— Eric Lindquist