Monday, January 25, 2016

Columnist should have reported carbon-monoxide threat

On Woodland Street and Palisade Avenue in Englewood, snow covered the right-turn lane this morning. Driving between Hackensack and Tenafly and back today, I saw many potentially dangerous spots on streets and highways, including Routes 4 and 80, where plows did their usual half-assed job even though we pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation.

In Hackensack, Euclid Avenue between the railroad tracks and Main Street was down to a single lane, and cars on Main could not turn right onto Euclid, normally a wide, two-lane street.
Not far away, the bus stop on Anderson Street in Hackensack, between Main and River streets, above, was covered by a snowbank. On Teaneck Road in Teaneck, a woman who wanted to walk under Route 4 despaired that the sidewalk hadn't been cleared, forcing her to use the pavement, inches from passing cars.


In October, Record Columnist John Cichowski warned "absent-minded drivers of modern cars" who park in a garage "you might not wake up in the morning," if you forget to push the off-button of your keyless ignition.

But this winter, Cichowski, The Record's so-called Road Warrior, forgot to warn drivers of another potentially deadly carbon-monoxide threat -- warming up a car when the exhaust pipe is covered by snow.

Two die in car

And on Saturday, a 23-year-old mother and her 1-year-old son died inside an idling car on a Passaic city street as the husband tried to dig it out of the snow left by the blizzard of 2016, as The Record reports on Page 1 today.

Deep in today's news story, the paper reports "the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in a snowbound car is one of several wintertime hazards on the list of safety tips published every year by ... Rutgers University" (A-6).

Yet, a day after the woman and her son died, and her 3-year-old daughter was listed as "very critical" in a Paterson hospital, Cichowski's lighthearted column on snowstorm risks was silent on how to safely dig out a snowbound car (Sunday's Local front).

He did have a warning for pedestrians:

"When skipping along in Timberland boots, people are not nearly as light-footed as they are when wearing Nikes. They tend to fall, too, so stopping for them in time is harder than ever."

Really? Boots would make them more sure-footed in snow -- not less. 

Just that excerpt shows why thousands of readers call Cichowski a moron, and demand the firing of his editors, Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza, who have allowed the addled columnist to waste readers' time for more than a dozen years.

Snow clearing

After every winter snowstorm, drivers realize what a terrible job municipal crews do in clearing corners, crosswalks, bus stops, sidewalks over or under highways and other places that can keep pedestrians safe.

Still, after every winter storm, The Record's supremely lazy and incompetent editors, as well as Cichowski, never issue report cards to Hackensack, Teaneck and all the other towns that do a half-assed job of clearing streets and intersections.

This morning, on Cedar Lane in Teaneck, drivers were lucky if both lanes were clear in each direction.

This morning on Cedar Lane in Teaneck, one lane was covered by snow as drivers approached River Road.

Highways, streets

On Route 4 east, the deceleration lane for the Jones Road exit ramp in Englewood was covered by snow, forcing drivers to slow down in the travel lane and turn sharply right, setting up the possibility of getting rear-ended.

On Route 80 west, drivers exiting in Teaneck, near the Glenpointe complex, also found the deceleration lane covered by snow.

On local streets, such as Euclid Avenue in Hackensack, between Main Street and the railroad tracks, you could assign partial blame for the terrible snow clearing on apartment dwellers who leave their cars parked on the street during a storm.

But ultimately, city planners were shortsighted in caving into developers and approving multi-family housing without enough off-street parking spots.


  1. It's upsetting how the city doesn't clear around the bus stops and even the corner of streets where sewers get blocked with snow mounds. The puddles that develop around corners go up past the ankles. Are you able to take more photos of Hackensack's downtown to show the impact of the snow? Thanks.

    1. I agree. I'll try to make more photos, but hard to pull over. I'll have to park somewhere today, and plan to attend council meeting at 6:30 tonite.

  2. Thanks, I know it might be difficult to take photos. When I lived in Hackensack, the Main Street was difficult to park after snow, and the road narrowed because snow wasn't cleared to the curb.

    1. I used free shoppers parking. I'll be posting those photos later today.


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