Facebook home to snowy fracas

Lee's Summit JournalFebruary 7, 2014 

I have to wonder just how much the Lee’s Summit Public Works department even ventures on to Facebook during the winter months.

Even a few seconds on the social media site might just depress them into asking for a transfer.

We all know that even a few inches of snow and ice are hard to deal with in a town the size of Lee’s Summit.

Magnify the storm, and you also, unfortunately, magnify the bull’s-eye on Public Works.

One report during the recent 9-10 inch snowfall was of a man chasing down snow plows and offering up what many would consider an obscene gesture.

That’s an extreme case, of course. Most people don’t want to do that in person. Many resort to online, where your name is known, but you don’t have to actually leave your home to express your disdain for the snow plows. You can virtually run down the street, criticize every city worker in sight and be as insulting as you wish.

Unless, of course, you are on the Journal Facebook page, where we ask conversations to stay civil and engaging. Of course, that doesn’t stop a lot of people from teeing off.

Questioning what roads are done when is not only completely understandable, but in a lot of ways necessary to help keep the conversations going on this topic.

Residents of Lee’s Summit should know what the snow plan is and have access to regular updates. Many of these updates, we share on our Lee’s Summit Journal Facebook page, including reports on what percentages of streets are done and how snow removal efforts are going city-wide.

Of course, posting that information opens the door to both praise and condemnation.

With all the griping about snow removal in Lee’s Summit, we decided to check out other cities to see how their residents were handling this, apparently, shocking display of early February weather.

I asked friends in Blue Springs and Independence to weigh in, too, since we seem to always hear that, miraculously, those cities’ streets are in far better condition.

Those in Blue Springs reported very good streets soon after the storm. We also heard that city went through some bad snow removal PR a few years ago and may have added crews and/or lengthened shifts to reduce the time it took.

In Independence, I drove some of the streets taking Addy to her daycare. Believe me when I tell you the Independence streets I traveled were not in great shape, even two days after the storm. To be fair, though, others reported decent traveling in Independence in a different part of town.

A friend in Parkville tells me a major thoroughfare, 64th Street, still had two inches of snow on it two days after the storm.

Since Facebook seemed to be platform of choice, hitting the Overland Park, Kan., social media page seemed to make sense. Of all the areas Lee’s Summit is compared to, all we ever hear is how pristine the Johnson County streets seem in contrast to ours.

Just like Lee’s Summit, there was some praise, some disparagement. And everyone was an expert on snow removal, including one resident asking the city buy pivoting blades so as not to block driveways.

It seems no city has found the magic formula on clearing snow and ice from the streets.


John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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