Snow removal failure about managing assets


As a former councilman, I became aware 10 years ago why Warren’s snow removal lags all others. During my first heavy snowfall as councilman, I left my house and discovered Crescent Drive was barely passable, but when I got to Perkinswood and Garfield streets, the roads were fully cleared. I followed the cleared roadway to the Garfield Mini-Mart where I found six Warren plow trucks on break. I chalked it up to luck that all six took the same break at the same time at the same place. I distinctly remember calling city operations manager Frank Tempesta. I received the same retort included in your article Wednesday about priorities, and a statement about “all hands were on deck” to clear snow.

Eight years ago I won a large snow blower and I decided to share my fortune with neighbors. Since then, I have cleared seven driveways and 1,000 feet of sidewalk between Crescent, Trumbull and East Market Street every snowfall when I get to spend more than an hour working in full view of East Market. Like the snowfall on Sunday I repeatedly saw 5 to 6 Warren plow trucks running in a staggered row over two lanes of East Market Street.

Let’s be clear, two 12-foot lanes were being plowed by six trucks at once. Each truck sports a 10- to 12-foot blade, so in theory, two trucks could plow a 20 foot swath. Instead, we have 60 feet of snowplows working to clear 24 feet of roadway.

This is about asset management. If half the trucks Warren can deploy are in one place duplicating on another’s work, no wonder we can’t get our roads cleared. In one of the three times Sunday I saw this convoy of duplication, I followed the trucks out to the Market Place in Howland (annexed to Warren). All six trucks had their snow blades down. One cleared, two re-cleared, three re-dressed, four checked for errors, five re-checked for errors, six did a final brush-up — all on one lane of Warren-Sharon Road!

The only thing missing was a truck following them all with a sign saying, “Vote for me. The streets are clean!” Good thing elections aren’t in January.

There is one reason why Warren’s streets are not cleared efficiently: poor asset management.

ODOT, Howland, Niles, Trumbull County nor any other governing body allows their trucks to operate more than two wide except Warren. No matter how many lane-miles need to be cleared, if you are plowing four feet wide with every pass and all your trucks are in one place, Forrest Gump said it best. “Stupid is…”