There was no sign of a snowplowing on my street the entire day Saturday. This after a considerable snowfall Friday and facing freezing rain Sunday. When I was out driving I noticed several secondary roads that had also not been plowed.
Where’s the plow?
The town tweeted out this last night:
The link takes you to the Where’s My Plow app the town rolled out back in 2014 and this is what it showed around 8PM Saturday:
All secondary roads were not plowed (pink), and had an estimated time of 8-16 hours. This after a full day of no activity.
After a little game of Where’s Waldo I was able to find an icon of a single plow, its location indicating that it was not on any of the roads but at the new Joint-Oops yard.
Then the Mayor tweeted out an obscure apology:
As there were no details as to what exactly needed sorting out I tried to get some straight forward answers from the town’s twitter feed. When I did they claimed that service levels were being maintained, yet couldn’t determine the hour fleet was dispatched, which is how one works back the hours to determine service levels.
They also couldn’t answer the question as to exactly how many plows Aurora operates as a fleet. After some google searching the best I could find was a 2011 number that reported 26 vehicles:
So when it got past 10PM it was strange to see the app showed absolutely no plows:
Certainly dispels the town’s assertion that “With this, people can log in and see the bread crumbs of where the plow is and when their street will be done.”
It wasn’t until the next morning when I logged in again that I saw 9 plows working the town, as one would have expected 24 hours previous.
Back in 2011 the Town approved an almost $70,000 cost (with $15,000 additional airtime costs) to install GPS units into their snow plow fleet. So the town knows where their fleet is, they are just incapable of communicating this out to residents.
More recently, in 2014 the town approved new Winter maintenance service levels, of which the WhereIsMyPlow app is mentioned. The report actually highlights 2 key complaints the app is supposed to mitigate:
The report also states a goal to “create the perception of unchanged or increased service levels”.
Council approved a reduction of service obviously believing they could achieve an “exceptional quality of life” in this area for less $ and it is more than apparent they cannot.
I agree with Anna’s assessment over on LivingInAurora.com :
“It appears that the days of superior winter maintenance services are gone in Aurora.”
Growth isn’t paying for growth, it is eroding our service levels, and as taxes go up all council is interested in maintaining is the perception that services are unchanged or are increased.
We don’t need expensive, non-functional apps to look at to distract us from phoning the town to ask when our street will be plowed. If there is an update to communicate then communicate it. If there is something to apologize for, and there certainly is, then man up and apologize. But don’t tell us service levels are being maintained when a look out the window shows that they clearly aren’t.