Snow gate test used inferior product

You can watch the presentation here. You can view the PDF document: snow-gates (sorry if it is low resolution, they are not making it available on the city website yet, not sure why, so I created this from screenshots). UPDATE: 7/5/11: CLEAR DOCUMENT. Where’s the transparency Mike?

I will share some highlights of the test, and will say that Galynn Huber and Mayor Huether spoke very positive for the most part about them, so did several city councilors, that was refreshing.

Quick notes:

• Using snow gates vs. traditional plowing will cost an extra 33%. Which is ironic when you think about all the double-digit water increases, this is actually a pretty good value 🙂

• It will cost the city a half-million every 5 years to install

• It narrows the streets more (normal narrowing is 2.5 feet compared to 7 feet with snow gates)

• They tested IRONEX’s product vs. HENKE. Both the best in the biz, except, HENKE are better because they lift upright instead of winging out. Upright is more effective because they don’t take out mailboxes, etc. HENKE are more expensive though. They are recommending we use HENKE next year, and may test them. This detail is a bit fishy, for a couple of reasons. As I understand it (and please correct me if I am wrong) city ordinance requires them to use low bid, Ironex was low bid, BUT, the mayor can override this. I think Munson did it on several occasions. So why didn’t Huether override the Ironex decision . . .

• We had an above average snowfall this year, coupled with using an inferior product, they admitted that the 33% number could go down quite a bit with less snow and better product.

I was glad to see Huber admit that he was surprised by how well they worked. Let’s hope they are here to stay.


#1 l3wis on 06.28.11 at 3:12 am

Notice that this is the only thing the city decided to post on their website, the negative info, of course:

#2 Poly43 on 06.28.11 at 7:01 am

Watching last nights presentation leaves no doubt about the eventual snow-gate fate. There is no way they will put them to use city wide. So we waste yet another year on GPS’s, studies, and more studies on a program that will NEVER be implemented.

#3 l3wis on 06.28.11 at 10:21 am

Stehly told Huether yesterday that if the council doesn’t implement them city wide by next year this time, she is heading up a petition drive to put them on the ballot Nov 2012.

#4 cr on 06.28.11 at 11:49 am

I was at Carnegie for yesterday’s snowgate report. I thought that Galen Huber presented as much information as he has been able to gather to this point. He is the kind of guy that is always very thorough about anything that he presents, I think it is just his personality.

Two of the things that stuck out for me were the type of snowgate that was used (Ironex) vs. Henke. I think that testing the Henke snowgates next winter would be important since he indicated that they throw snow better than the Ironex model. Also, no contractors were used in this test. I got the impression that he is expecting significant “pushback” from the private contractors that the city employs to clear the streets. I believe that they need and want the city’s business, and if push comes to shove, they will comply.

The narrowing of SOME of the streets seems to be a legitimate concern, but I know in my own neighborhood that we did not have the same curb-to-curb plowing that we had received in previous years.

Ultimately, I believe that this issue should go to a vote of the people. Let the community decide the pros and cons, not a Council that already had strongly held convictions about snowgates BEFORE they were even tested!! If SF citizens want snowgates the only way to insure that this will happen and that it will continue year-to-year is by ORDINANCE!!

#5 l3wis on 06.28.11 at 12:06 pm

Huether doesn’t like that idea, because he knows if it goes to a vote it will pass with flying colors.