It started snowing here in Charlottesville, Virginia, around 4 p.m. last Friday. The snow stopped around 6 p.m. Saturday. It’s now Tuesday night – more than 72 hours after the storm ended. The city and county governments have yet to clear most of the roads they supposedly “own.”Charlottesville is run by leftists who congratulate themselves for being “progressive.” During the recent city council elections, the winning candidates pledged to improve conditions for bicyclists, pedestrians, and bus riders; anything to reduce dependency on evil automobiles. Today, most of the city’s sidewalks and bike paths are impassable, and the city has suspended its monopoly bus service for all but two lines: One serving the out-of-session university, and the other serving the shopping malls, for “[r]iders in need of last-minute holiday shopping,” according to a city statement.
In other words, there’s bus service for people who generate sales tax revenue for the city – Charlottesville regularly lambasts its residents to “buy local” and avoid scary Internet vendors – but none for people living in residential areas who need to get to work.
It’s just as well. All the bus lines except the one serving the malls lose money. (Heck, the bus serving the university charges no fare at all!) The regular service is too infrequent to be of much value to anyone who considers his or her time a scarce resource.
As for the sidewalks, it’s not the city’s fault they haven’t been cleared. Sure, the city “owns” the sidewalks, but the city also passed a law requiring individuals and businesses to clear the sidewalks adjacent to their property. But that was too much of a nuisance, so the mayor “waived” that mandate. Until tomorrow. Then he’s going to start fining people who don’t clear the city’s sidewalks. He’s serious this time.
Anyhow, the city can’t do much about the sidewalks given that it hasn’t cleared the roads either. A commenter on a local website wrote, “EVERY grocery store and private enterprise has a clear parking lot. Can’t the city/county pay private citizens with plows to plow the roads? Do they HAVE TO rely on their own vehicles?” Of course they do. Those vehicles are operated by highly-compensated city employees. (Just like the buses the city won’t operate.) You can’t just allow anyone to plow snow for money.
Charlottesville lacked the resources and planning to deal with the higher-than-average snowfall. But we can’t blame the city for that. Heck, they’re not even working a full day. City Hall has opened two hours late every day this week.