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Many St. Paul residents sympathetic to city's snow woes

Many St. Paul residents sympathetic to city's plowing woes
Many St. Paul residents sympathetic to city's plowing woes 02:15

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The snow stopped early Thursday evening, but the snow emergency for one of the Twin Cities just started Thursday night. 

They're each doing things a little differently with this storm. In Minneapolis, they decided against a snow emergency.

Over in St Paul, a snow emergency went into effect at 9 p.m.

For Capitol City residents, it's become a common cycle: snow, shovel, repeat.

"When it snows, it pours. Like, I don't know, it's kinda crazy," said resident Dan Weber. "I feel like everybody's trying to do their best with what is a very, very white January."

MORE: Click here to check if your city has declared a snow emergency

That includes snow plow drivers.

"I think you know, especially when it comes to weather, there's a lot that's out of our control, and I do think they're doing the best they can," said resident Kari Leon-Irani.

WCCO talked to Sean Kershaw, the director of the St. Paul Department of Public Works, who says the Twin Cities have different equipment, different staffing and different streets they need to take care of.

"This is just an unusual year. We've had the third most snow ever at this point in the winter this year," Kershaw said.

He hopes to add half a dozen new trucks and drivers to his fleet as soon as possible, but he isn't sure if that would help in clearing neighborhoods.  


"New equipment will always help with that, and filling some vacant positions, you know, that we have for drivers will help," he said. "But I don't know that there's much we would have done differently given the volume of snow."

Kershaw says any more snow could bring even more drastic measures.

"If we keep getting snows like this, we'll have to do two things. We may have to go to a residential parking ban, one-sided, and we're going to have to go into the streets and remove the snow, you know, when needed, especially those streets that are most narrow," Kershaw said.

He says things will get better in time – time at least some residents are willing to give crews.

"You can complain if you want to, but like [laughs], do you have a better solution than slowly plowing it all?" Weber said. "At some point it's the best that we can do, and you can make it worse or you can try to make it better."

Kershaw says public works will be moving to a computerized route system this year. Right now, they're using clipboards and paper routes from the 90s. 

The new system could give them maps with live updates depending on how bad the snow gets.

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