Sand unacceptable, icy streets dangerous (Letter to the Editor)

Marc Jeker

In reading Brian Rosenthal’s article, (well done, by the way) I could not help but laugh at the absurdity of the claim by Suzette Eggleston, of the Evanston Streets and Sanitation Department, that Evanston’s streets have not been left in a hazardous condition – “Did we leave the roads in a hazardous situation? No, not to our mind” (“Evanston runs short on salt,” Feb. 12).

This is nothing more than a feeble attempt by a poorly run governmental department to cover up its obvious failures. The fact that a Chicago suburb runs out of salt is unacceptable. Some winters are more extreme than others, and a good city government would be prepared for “above average” snowfall.

Why the Evanston Streets and Sanitations Department does not have a surplus of road salt for winters like this is beyond me. We have food surpluses for times of famine, water surpluses for times of drought, medical surpluses for times of epidemic and oil surpluses for times of shortage to name a few. Yes, these are more important commodities to have a surplus of, but in a city known for its unpredictable weather, you would think a surplus of road salt for times of emergency would be normal too.

By choosing not to maintain a surplus, you have brought it on yourselves to go scrambling to your supplier (who I do not blame in the slightest) at the last minute. As if that wasn’t enough, the Dept. of Streets and Sanitation clearly does not take residents seriously when it makes such a preposterous claim as to argue that sand is an adequate substitute for salt, and that the current conditions of the road are not hazardous. I saw three people slip and fall on the ice today, and you mean to tell me that this would have happened if you had salted the pathways?

Right. My intuition thus leads me to believe that if people are slipping on an icy sidewalk, cars will slip on an icy road too, but that wouldn’t be hazardous, now would it, Ms. Eggleston? What a joke. Your performance this winter has been inept.

– Marc Jeker

Weinberg sophomore