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Outrage from Millennials Prompts St. Louis to Reconsider Snow Removal Policy

"If the citizens of St. Louis want us to plow the side streets -- we're going to do it"
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Side street in south St. Louis on Jan 6, 2014. (KMOX/Tanya Sinkovits)

Side street in south St. Louis on Jan 6, 2014. (KMOX/Tanya Sinkovits)

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By Tanya Sinkovits, @Tanyalou86

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - It’s the topic all over social media from St. Louis city residents. ‘Why is my street not plowed?’ More than 72 hours after the last snowflakes from a major snow storm fell in the bi-state many side streets remain snow covered and very treacherous to on drive.

Jeff Rainford, Mayor Francis Slay’s chief of staff told KMOX Thursday that the mayor understands the situation, and the decades-old policy is going to get a second look at the end of winter.

Listen to Jeff Rainford’s interview with Total Information AM below:

“We work for the people. If the citizens of St. Louis want us to plow the side streets — we’re going to do it,” he said.

But that is easier said, than done. Leaving many questions to be answer, according Todd Waelterman, the city’s street department director.

“Where do the cars go? Who keeps them? How often do you move them? How do you alert people? Do you actually tow them out if they don’t do it?” he said.

This week’s 10.8 inches of snow could be considered an anomaly. It went down as the ninth-largest snow fall in the past hundred years.

Rainford took to twitter Tuesday and Wednesday defending road crews and the city’s response to the storm as many complained the city wasn’t prepared. Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen even said the city had “dropped the ball” in a letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Rainford said the snow removal policy needs to be addressed in a public forum where the logistical pros and cons are laid out, “then we’ll figure out a rational policy that everybody can live with.”

Earlier this week, Waelterman pledged to treat all neighborhood streets with a mix of salt and sand. It was the first time, and kind of an experiment for the streets department who has traditionally let those streets be. But it turned out to be a failed experiment providing little impact because of the depth of the snow and the extreme cold, acknowledged Waelterman.

Rainford also admitted that having crews treat the side streets before they cleared all of the major snow routes was a mistake because the city’s 70 snow-removal force was spread too thin.

Side street 4

Alley in south St. Louis January 8th, 2014, three days after a winter storm dumped 10.8 inches of snow on the region. (KMOX/Ben Boyd)

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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