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Girding for battle

Trucks lined up for salt at the West Roxbury Public Works shed

Mary Ellen, who normally focuses on birds, turned her lens this morning on the road to the Boston Public Works salt shed at Millennium Park in West Roxbury, where truck drivers lined up to get their allotment of snow-fighting crystals.

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Voting closed 16

Seems like there will be less plowing this far east than we had originally expected. What a shame.

Voting closed 11

telling difference relative to swans in the previous set;
the human-industrial-show-must-go-on,
but for how long, until all the salt mines are devoured?, until all the fossil fuels are gone?, either way our reckoning is only a few decades away (give or take some)

Voting closed 8

Even if it doesn't snow, there will be 1-3" of salt on the roads.

IIRC in 2013 (yup), there was a storm-that-wasn't and the roads were covered with salt, and then it got windy, and there were clouds of salt blowing through Downtown.

Apparently, that storm was forecast for several inches and turned into a dusting, up in Maine they had forecast 10-14 and got nada.

Voting closed 24

of just packing the snow down and grading it, then using snow tires -- for both cars and bikes. I think they might still plow to asphalt in city centers, but from what I've been able to find online, in other areas there's less focus on snow removal and more on just providing traction via sand and gravel.

EDIT: Here are some great photos of the overfull bike racks in -17°C weather: https://www.boredpanda.com/students-bicycle-school-winter-snow-oulu-finl...

To be fair, they probably deal with well-below-freezing temperatures more often, and don't have to deal with as much slush.

Voting closed 17

I prefer snow removal to intrigue.

Voting closed 10

That was the model back when, at least in VT. The vehicle of choice then became a sleigh. Don't know what they did in the city, but then, I can't imagine having to deal with all that horse manure, either.

Voting closed 11

It's still the choice for dirt roads in Vermont. Some of the easiest driving on dirt roads up there is in mid-winter, when the roads are frozen and basically graded by plows, so they push off what's on top and grade what's left, and if it's not too icy, it's basically like driving on pavement. Just make sure you have good snow tires (or studs, like a lot of people up there have, although it's terrible for pavement, which is why snow tires were developed).

Of course, that's a dirt road with packed snow that might see a couple hundred cars per day and where the temperature might not hit freezing for a month. Not so easy to do here with lots of traffic (car wheels slowly compress the snow, melt it under pressure, and freeze it into ice) and the freeze-thaw cycle. Dirt roads, of course, melt, and become almost impassable, and paved roads would have ruts and ridges of ice or slush. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work here.

As for Oulu, I sort of wonder what those bike racks look like when everything melts (although to be fair, there's not a lot of precip there, so the pathways might just dry out). If you give me the choice of riding in 0˚ and dry or 33˚ and wet/slushy (looks out window) I'll take 0˚ and dry any day of the week. That actually made 2015 a sneaky-great biking winter in Boston, the roads stayed dry during the bit snowstorms because it never went above freezing, so it never got icy, and then it all slowly melted away without huge slush oceans of doom.

Voting closed 7

I can turn it off now.

Voting closed 16