After our “blizzard” of Friday morning which left about 4-inches of snow in and around central Cardiff, and then with the sky pouring white stuff most of the day on Friday, Cardiff Council seems to have retreated and called it quits. I haven’t seen a council vehicle in days, the roads are a mess, nothing has been cleared since the snow dropped and this is causing chaos – with cars getting stuck, unable to move at junctions and all normal services (buses, mail, rubbish collections) seemingly cancelled or on a limited service (with regard to buses).
Of course, all of this stems from the single point of failure, and that is that if you don’t clear roads and pavements, nothing else can function – and this leaves the burden firmly on Cardiff Council’s door. The repercussions of them not doing their job, and making roads passable, means that all other efforts are doomed to fail, it’s simple really.
I was at Penarth Road this morning, just after the snow started falling, watching buses with “Sorry, not in service” on their signs and returning to the depot. The picture this afternoon is pretty grim for anybody that has to travel around Cardiff – their Facebook page is being continually updated with service cancellations, because the state of the roads is making many routes undriveable.
Here is a picture I shot at the intersection of Penarth Road & Clare Road in Grangetown today – this is one of Cardiff’s main roads, and it hasn’t had any attention at all since the snow first fell – a clear example that Cardiff Council do not have the equipment to handle large scale snowfall.
Many council’s across the UK are hiring snow ploughs, a rental service that is available in South Wales, but Cardiff has clearly opted not to do this – and I’m sure many people would like to know why.
Update: Cardiff Council have tweeted that they currently have 4 gritters working the city, 3 of which have ploughs. The questions that must be asked now then are,
a) Why have they not been deployed before? It snowed 3 days ago.
b) Why are there so few for such a large city?
c) What do they class as a “strategic route” and “principal road”? I would have thought Penarth Road & Tudor Street would have been, considering the trunk traffic that the former takes and the bus routes that rely on the latter.
Update: Cardiff Council have pointed me to this map on their website (beware, it’s not very user-friendly) which shows all of the routes that are to be salted (doesn’t say anything about ploughing, salting won’t do very much over the sludge) during winter times. If there are currently only 4 gritters out at the moment, they won’t even touch a portion of these routes – they have 12 available, according to this page on their website, where they boast about having “26 gritter drivers and loader drivers trained to City and Guilds Winter Service Operations 6159 standard are scheduled to be on a rota.”. So where have they been until now, or do they have weekends off?
Update: The page that Cardiff Council pointed me towards has some information on footways, and the salting plan for pedestrian walkways; and as far as I can tell none of the plan was executed. I walked through the City Centre yesterday and nothing had been salted or cleared, and the snow was forecast. See the details here.