City of

District 16

Alder Michael J. Tierney

Image of Alder Michael J. Tierney

Alder Michael J. Tierney

Contact Information

Home Address:

4534 Secret Garden Dr
McFarland , WI 53558

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Tierney’s Updates

Snow Plowing and Traffic Concerns

February 2, 2020 9:37 PM

Thank you all for contacting me regarding the condition of neighborhood streets after recent snowfalls and ongoing concerns with traffic safety in our neighborhoods.    I know this winter weather has been challenging.  I would like to take a moment to let you know what steps I have taken behind the scenes to address the concerns brought forward.

1st) STREET CLEARING: I have heard a great deal from residents regarding the condition of neighborhood streets after snowfalls.  The Madison Streets Division provides updates when there are snowfalls and I have included below the most recent update that explains the plowing operations that occurred earlier today, Sunday, February 2nd.  Fortunately, with the warmer temperatures we had, a great deal of melting occurred, and plows were able to scrape away a great deal of the snow and ice that had built-up on neighborhood streets throughout the city. 

I continue to receive contacts asking me why streets are not salted.  The City of Madison does not use salt on every street, like many of our neighboring municipalities.  We must take this step to protect the groundwater that we drink and the water quality of our lakes.  

I have driven around multiple neighborhoods, surveyed the condition of the streets, and shared my concerns with the Streets Division.  While this resulted in some sanding and additional attempts at plowing occurring, I also learned from other Alders that there are concerns with the condition of neighborhood streets in their districts as well. 

There are a limited number of city employees to operate the snow clearing equipment we do have and our ability to hire contractors is also limited.  Simply put, we have good people doing the best job that they can under the circumstances.  I believe it is imperative to provide our Streets Division with more resources so when snows do fall we have the number of city employees and contractors out there that are needed to get the streets cleared before the snowfall is compacted on neighborhood streets and turns into a thick layer of ice that plows cannot clear away. 

2nd) POSTAL SERVICE:  I had heard concerns that the USPS could potentially suspend delivery in at least one neighborhood because of the overall condition of the streets after recent snow falls.  I worked with US Representative Mark Pocan's office and learned that the post office was indeed out in one neighborhood, taking pictures and accessing the condition of the streets to see if a future suspension of mail delivery might be warranted.  Prior to the February 2nd melting and clearing, I had been assured that there were NOT plans to stop USPS delivery.  However, I have shared information regarding the USPS activity with the Streets Division and the Mayor's office in hopes that it will result in budgetary changes being made that help better address snow plowing issues next winter and that this will help us work through the issues with plowing in the best way we can during the remainder of this winter.

3rd) TRAFFIC LAWS:  I am continuing to alert the Captain at the Madison East District Police Dept when there are specific concerns regarding speeding or when other traffic issues are brought to my attention.  After being alerted that two children were nearly killed by a driver who flew through an intersection where a school bus stop is located, I have reached out to traffic engineering regarding our ability to post and enforce lower speed limits at school bus stops.    

Many residents in the 16th District live in neighborhoods that have few stop signs or other traffic signs.  Speed bumps, traffic control circles, and even stop and yield signs are costly. If drivers simply followed the rules of the road, we could not only make our neighborhood streets substantially safer, but save a substantial amount of money.

Remember, if you are driving down a street in your neighborhood and another street crosses your path, and there are no stop or yield signs, you are entering an uncontrolled "+" intersection.  The first car at the intersection has the right-of-way.  If arriving at the same time, the car to the right has the right-of-way.  When at a "T" intersection (i.e. if the street you are on ends), then you must yield to vehicles approaching on the other street. 

Pedestrians have the right-of-way and kids are unpredictable.  So, pay attention when you are behind the wheel and obey the speed limit.


The following is an update from the City of Madison Streets Superintendent: 


Snow Plowing Updates

by Charlie Romines, Streets Superintendent

posted February 1, 2020 12:22 PM

Residential plowing will be underway on Sunday. Residents are encouraged to choose off-street parking options to help clear the road for plows to do their work. No snow emergency parking restrictions will be in effect.

Many Madison residential streets have a compacted layer of ice and snow on them leftover from the last citywide plowing. The relatively warm temperatures of Saturday combined with the even warmer temperatures forecast for Sunday will make this layer thaw. As traffic drives through thawing hard pack, it will churn the snow, making the roads slushy and sloppy.

Beginning Sunday morning, a total of approximately 65 plowing vehicles from the Streets Division and heavy equipment contractors will be working to push this slush out of the roads and to the curb.

Leaving the slush in place would create deep ruts in the driving lanes that could freeze when cold temperatures return in the days ahead.

On Sunday, roadway users may encounter plowing vehicles and residential areas may be wet and slippery from the melting snow. Therefore, if you are making your way through the city on Sunday, perhaps to a gathering to a watch a sporting event, please remember to make good choices and remain alert. And be sure to give the plowing equipment room to do their work safely.

As the slush is pushed from the road, driveway aprons and crosswalk approaches may become blocked. This may be quite wet and heavy to move, so take care.

Driveways and crosswalks become blocked because plows can only push snow and ice forward and to the side in order to clear the roads.

As they travel, plows ride close to the curb in order to make streets wide and safe for all roadway users. Snow and ice builds on the blade of the plow as they work because the terrace and curb prevent it from falling off. At driveways and crosswalks, there is no curb or terrace. The snow and ice then slides off the plow and into these gaps.

The Sunday plowing operation is anticipated to conclude by the early evening. City crews will be ready come Monday morning to address any stubborn areas of hard packed snow that didn't thaw in time for the Sunday work to push it back to the curb. The intent is to have as much of the thawed hard pack pushed from the roads as possible in advance of the next potential snow event, which could come as early as Monday evening.

Streets Division staff will continue monitoring the roads and the weather. Despite this warmer weather, winter isn't done with us yet.

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