The below video is of an Ironex snowgate that the city tested two years ago. We are now going to test the Henke snowgate this winter (which is superior to the Ironex because it lifts straight up instead of swinging out, which is better because it eliminates the possibility of taking out mailboxes). I like the Ironex video though because it shows how snowgates work.
The great thing about possibly using snowgates in Sioux Falls for the entire city is that it is truly a ‘quality of life’ issue for ALL of the residents. Homeowners, apartment dwellers and businesses don’t have to worry about plowing out the ends of their driveways of their homes or parking lots. It truly benefits EVERYONE.
The biggest argument against snowgates is there expense, but when compared to the millions we are spending on entertainment and recreational projects in Sioux Falls, it is just a spit in the bucket. Using our tax dollars to provide an ACTUAL service to all the residents of Sioux Falls is a positive thing. We have the money, that is according to our mayor and several city councilors who continually support spending our tax dollars on other ‘quality of life’ projects. So the argument that snowgates will be too expensive is moot.
Besides the expense of snowgates, the city’s public works department often has two main complaints about them;
1) They narrow streets. Well guess what, any amount of snowplowing narrows streets in Sioux Falls. Drive down any street in this town at the end of winter and you will notice it isn’t as wide, not because of snowgate use, but because of snow in general, and the fact that some of these streets are narrow to begin with.
2) It will take longer to plow streets. While this is partially true, once snowplow operators get the hang of these devices, it won’t take much longer to plow the streets. As you can see in the demonstration videos above the snowplows move at a pretty good clip.
It is no secret that people love snowgates, in fact people living in the test areas over the past two years have raved about them, they also make our streets safer. Rumor has it that the city has received many positive comments about them and when public meetings have been held to talk about testing them, oodles of people have shown up to support them.
Snowgates would be a great addition to public service to our city, I can’t wait to hear more about them, I have a feeling that will be sooner rather then later.