Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Could you please move that snow? February 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:00 AM

By my house, earlier this month.

IT’S ABOUT TIME, I think, as I watch city crews remove snow at the intersection by my house Friday morning.

For months, high banks of snow have blocked drivers’ views of oncoming traffic. It’s been like a cat-and-mouse game with motorists creeping out, cautiously easing vehicles into the edge of the traffic lane, hoping to avoid an accident.

All over Faribault, except in the downtown area, visibility at intersections has been bad.

All winter.

And, perhaps because I live along one of the city’s busiest streets, the problem has been more noticeable to me, more worrisome.

So I welcome the beep-beep-beep of the loader backing up. I welcome the shudder of the house as the mammoth machine scrapes the pavement and lifts boulder-size snow chunks. I welcome the thunk of snow plummeting into the dump truck.

Yes, I’m happy that city streets will now be safer.

But later, I discover that my thankfulness was a bit premature. As my husband and I head out for the evening on Friday, attempting to pull from our side street onto the main road past our house, we note that the snow to the left is now higher, visibility more diminished.

We’re having an even tougher time seeing oncoming vehicles in the lane closest to us than before today’s snow removal.

How could this happen?

“They just moved the snow from the corner and piled it higher there,” my husband says.

He’s right.

“There” is directly in the sight-line to spot oncoming traffic.

For all the time city workers pushed and moved snow, I did not expect this. But I suppose, when you’re sitting high in a loader or a dump truck, your line of vision is skewed. A snowbank that appears low is really high, at least for the average motorist.

Now, I suppose, we’ll simply need to wait for sunshine and warm temps to reduce the hazardous snow piles. Unless, of course, city crews would like to return to my neighborhood and play in the snow again.




© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


4 Responses to “Could you please move that snow?”

  1. Kristin Says:

    Both my mom and my sister have complained about the snow piles and lack of visibility in Faribault – I’m glad I walk in DC!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yup, we’re all driving a bit more cautiously around Faribault this winter given the towering snowbanks that block motorists’ vision. As I was out and about yesterday and today, I noticed many more intersections where city crews moved snow on the corners, but did not improve visibility at all. What was the point of their efforts, I wondered?

  2. jeff Says:

    Want to make a bet with me that each of the City employees who worked on the snow removal drives a Pick Up truck.

    Up here in my neck of the woods the County and State move snow, but never move it low enough for the folks like myself who drive a car. They spend hours clearing intersections but only take it down to about 5 feet. I talked to a MNDOT supervisor about this one time, total shock, she said she had never thought of that, she’s driven a pickup (or taller vehicle) all of her life.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You could be right, Jeff. Sitting high in a vehicle like a truck or van sure makes it easier to see around those tall snowbanks.

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