Northland neighborhoods fed up with snow-packed and ice-covered streets

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With another round of snow coming, Kansas City residents are worried about their neighborhood streets. Some communities in the Northland say they never see snow plows, and the conditions are downright dangerous.

Donnie Janssen’s Northland neighborhood, Pembrooke Estates near 89th and Indiana, has been an icy, snowy mess just about all winter long.

“It’s awful. You’re doing nothing but sliding,” Janssen said.

During one recent storm, a neighbor actually slid off the road and into a pond. Janssen said he and his neighbors are fed up.

“We literally have to take care of the cleaning on the streets. Snow blowers and actually a four-wheeler with a plow on the front,” he said.

As a tax-paying Kansas City resident, it’s work he said the city — not his neighbors — should be doing.

“Do your job. We’re doing ours for you. We’re paying you to do it, and you’re not out here. So do it,” Janssen said.

He and his neighbors have done what the city asks by calling 311 and filing online complaints.

The city admits 311 has been overloaded with requests and road crews are still playing catch up, working to get to areas where slick spots have been reported.

“They’ve gone through some neighborhoods several times and kind of scraped down, scraped down, scraped down. But some still have a little bit of an ice glaze there, and that’s what’s still stuck down we’re trying to get up,” KCMO spokesman Chris Hernandez said.

A single plow did come into the entrance of the Pembrooke and Lakeview neighborhoods, but it didn’t go fully into the community, leaving the majority of streets still icy and snow-packed.

The city said many residents have unrealistic expectations, thinking their roads should be free and clear.

“The neighborhood goal is not to get down to bare pavement. It’s to create a passable lane. So you can get a block or two ’til you get to a major street that has been plowed in a much more major way,” Hernandez said.

And with 2,400 lane miles of neighborhood roads alone, it takes a long time to even scratch the surface. Crews will continue working long shifts, and more salt is now being brought in to keep chipping away.

The city started the season with 13,000 tons of salt and another 10,000 tons is being hauled in right now.

KCMO is also looking to hire 30 more public works employees, and filling those jobs will only help them tackle even more snowy streets.

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