To request plowing

Boulder strategically plows and treats known problem areas and will respond to complaints if plows are available. To request plowing of a specific street, call Boulder snow dispatch at 303-413-7109 or visit

On the University of Colorado campus, where Carla Fredericks is a law professor, the streets were clear Monday. In Lafayette, where Fredericks takes her son for gymnastics lessons, the streets were also clear.

But at Arapahoe Avenue and 33rd Street in Boulder, where Fredericks lives, and all around the city, she described conditions this weekend and Monday as "treacherous."

Many Boulder residents have complained that the city did not do a good job with snow removal after the weekend's storm. They said main streets, including Arapahoe, Baseline Road, Broadway and 28th Street were icy and dangerous, and they haven't seen very many plows on the streets.

"It seems for the most part like the cars are doing the plowing," Fredericks said.

Boulder public works spokesman Nick Grossman said the city responded with all 16 of its plows working the streets starting at 3 a.m. Saturday. However, the rate at which the snow fell and the cold temperatures made the liquid de-icer much less effective than normal.

"We experienced a heavier snow than was predicted with colder temperatures," he said. "All our equipment was deployed to respond to this storm."

The forecast called for 2 to 4 inches of snow, but, instead, 10.7 inches fell Saturday, making it the third snowiest January day on record, meteorologist Matt Kelsch said.

By the time the snow stopped falling Sunday, 11.5 inches had fallen in Boulder.

Highs on Saturday were in the teens, then much colder Sunday. The low reached --7 overnight Sunday to Monday.

The number of deployed snowplows wasn't reduced until 10 a.m. Monday, and even then, 10 trucks continued to work the city to address problem areas, Grossman said.

Christie Spencer said she experienced similar problems in the county area near Baseline Reservoir, where she lives.

She didn't see a single plow on Baseline until after she was waiting for a tow truck to pull her son's car out of a ditch on Sunday morning.

She also found clear streets in Lafayette and Louisville, but said conditions in Boulder were dangerous.

"I'm not a complainer normally, but it was such a difference in conditions," she said. "I've never seen such a bad job of plowing the streets. I don't know how to argue with the chemistry, but Louisville and Lafayette figured it out."

Dan Hershman, road maintenance division manager for Boulder County's Transportation Department, said Baseline Road is a priority when it comes to plowing and sanding after a snowstorm. He said there was a crew scheduled to cover the area on Friday night, and crews ran all weekend and Monday.

"What the issue was with this storm is that it was a very cold storm with freezing temperatures," Hershman said. "The problem when you get an icy condition road and you sand it, cars driving on the road, as well as even the wind, can blow the sand off the road. You can be there an hour or hour-and-a-half later and the sand can be blown off the road.

"When it's snowing, we can sand and the sand stays impregnated in the snow."

Hershman said the streets are being addressed in the same way they always have.

Fredericks, who grew up in Boulder and moved back this year from New York City, said she finds the explanation "implausible."

"I don't know what they're doing in Louisville and Lafayette, but the roads were clear," she said. "I moved back here from New York expecting the kind of infrastructure that Boulder had been proud of, and I think it's appalling that the snow removal infrastructure is better in New York than it is here."

Camera Staff Writer Ashley Dean contributed to this report.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355, or