City looks for ways to optimize snow plows

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COLUMBIA — The city of Columbia is planning a pilot program to use smaller neighborhood streets to ensure clearer roads faster when it snows.

Engineering Manager Richard Stone said the public works department is always looking for ways to improve response times.

Public works would create "optimization" routes that connect to priority routes.

"Based on the resources that we have, we think that by adding a few routes that are not priority routes, but we will get to them a little quicker, that our overall response time, both on our priority routes and within the neighborhoods, will improve."

Stone said the department chose streets that connect priority roads.

"The goal was to select routes that provide some sort of loop or a faster response to a street that has snow pack issues," he said.

Some of the optimization route roads are candidates to be priority streets, but Stone said the department didn't want to make it illegal for people to park on those streets in the snow.

"If we actually designate them as priority routes, then people can't park on them, so what we're hoping is that maybe by plowing them faster and people park on those, you know, if they're maybe one street or a small cul-de-sac away from that street."

Even though people can park on the optimization streets in the snow, Stone encouraged residents to park off the streets because it will be much easier for the plows.