THE BEST THING about the weekend's snow was that it didn't take the city by storm. The city, wearing first its plow-force was ready. So with a Sunday to recover, most systems were go before any Monday morning quarterbacks could have at it.
True, there were some little Siberias around the region that never saw a plow all weekend. But in the city and suburbs alike, the official response was unusually good. About the only complaint in the city was that the plows didn't scrape up enough; in some neighborhoods they just took off a layer and packed the rest into a slick trial. As a result some side streets downtown looked worse than the roads in Maryland and Virginia. Still, that can be fixed with a change of blades here and there; after last year's battles and the fuss over Mayor Barry's "they can walk" remarks to one reporter, the city government now goes all out at the drop of a flake.
You may recall, too, that last year the big flop of the hour was the mighty subway system -- which didn't move for three days. There, too, the political whammy then was enough to mobilize Metro this time for a fast-track operation. Even the buses held reasonably close to their normal, hit-or-miss schedule of surprise appearances (a subject for some other, warmer morning.)
Another failing of '79 that was not repeated was the 8:50 a.m. cancellation of school in the District after thousands of children were already en route, with lunches in hand and parents at work. To his creidt, Superintendent Vincent E. Reed is trying to keep the schools opening on time. Most students can make it, anyway; it's those teachers who live in the suburbs who may have to try a little harder from now on. As for schools in the counties, one wonders how helpful those late openings are; by officially postponing the starting times, authorities are throwing off parents' work schedules and creating mid-morning traffic jams aggravated by off-cycle traffic lights and other non-rush-hour conditions. It may be unheard of, but can't people -- parents, teachers and students -- be asked to start moving a little bit earlier than usual?