No excuses, please -- City Hall botched it big yesterday. Somebody should tell Mr. Barry's snow chiefs that when the weather turns certifiably nasty, the last people you let go home early are the road crews. In the wee wet hours of yesterday -- long before the rushless-hour traffic would hit the roads -- you didn't need a National Hockey League referee to call icing. When water from the skies starts glistening and glazing and rubber tires start singing in the night, you can pretty much figure that roads are getting slippery. But did the city's fleet of trucks fan out in full to pass the salt and fling the sands? If anyone saw more than two city trucks before dawn, it must have been in a garage.

Maybe the weather forecaster was a little off, but that's not unheard of. Better to err on the salty side than to hibernate until it's too late. By the time the bureaucrats did decide to let their trucks venture out in numbers, it was much too late. By then the jam was on the icing, and the trucks, too, got stalled in the gridlocks. In the meantime, the freezing rain kept coming down and the backups in town kept on growing. Motorists who had little or no trouble moving through the suburbs joined the mess.

The worse the tie-ups, then, the fewer the teachers and other key personnel who could make it to the schools that had said they would try to open. That prompted a number of these schools to switch signals and close -- sending kids in all directions and their parents into reverse to try to regather them.

As we said, no excuses, please. Next time, throw caution to the winds and let fly with the salt and sand.