For the love of salt

Jan 29 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

Our entire area has been turned into a giant skating rink by Mother Nature's latest hijinx and in its infinite wisdom, Employment University decided to plow everything in such a way so as to leave a half inch of ice on everything. Well, since they did not plow the sidewalks at all, there are 2 inches of ice on those, but who's counting? When I drove in this morning, students were walking in all the roads around campus because the probability of being crushed by a sliding car was apparently less than that of cracking one's skull on the skate-walks. With ice and students everywhere, navigating to my parking lot had to be done with surgical precision. Luckily, I have been conditioned to walking on ice because both PhD City and Postdoc City were frozen wonderlands for much of the year. In addition, due to the construction on the new building next door, the university plows have decided that they should not get within 200m of anything that resembles a construction fence, so icy walkways have been the norm around the current building all winter.

Figure 1. PLS's walk from parking lot to building.

On might think that salt and sand might be a simple way to combat the problems associated with an ice coating, but Employment University believes in green energy and prefers to let the sun do that job, no matter how long it takes and how many shattered pelvises must be endured. While I have to admit that the jerk in me found comedic value in watching three students dramatically yard-sale on my short walk in (with no apparent injury, save for their egos), I do wonder who makes cost-saving decisions like not using salt and how they factor in the injuries of their clients (students) and employees into how much money they are saving.

4 responses so far

  • DamnGoodTechnician says:

    My "skate" to work this morning sounds a lot like your commute - thank heavens for my YakTrax knockoffs, else I would have been on my ass at least a dozen times. I rarely need them, but when I do, I really need them. Was your trip home last night as flooded as mine was? There was ~ 4" of standing water at nearly every intersection I came to.

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    It was nasty and freezing up, so the water was more slush. Good times.

  • Professor in Training says:

    Haha - welcome to my world. After our big snowfall started ~5wks ago, New City took their sweet time plowing the streets and when they did, it was too cold for the de-icing process to work - I'm still walking and driving on several inches of ice everywhere I go. If it hadn't been for my YakTrax Pro, I would have been in traction long ago. I'm looking forward to spring beginning ... I've been assured it'll be a day in August sometime ...

  • Eugenie says:

    Best wintertime pastime of all time is watching drunken undergrads navigate the hills of SLAC. My old dorm was at the base of a sweet hill and boy did some people go for a ride!

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