(Neena Satija - CT Mirror) When the city threatened to tow all the cars on my street after the blizzard, I went into full-on panic mode. I paid a guy with a snow plow thirty bucks to dig out my car. And there was such a huge mound of snow between my roommate’s car and the road, that we actually drove it onto the sidewalk to get it off the street. And then the city never delivered. We live in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven — and we’re not alone. All over the city, mounds of snow have reduced side streets from two lanes to one. Driving through them on Wednesday was a constant cat-and-mouse game with cars approaching from the opposite direction. Check out this guy, who has just parallel-parked between two mounds of snow.
Chris Betances lives in the Beaver Hills neighborhood. Like me, he spent considerable time and effort digging out his car. Then the city never plowed the street. He nearly got towed earlier, forced to park in an illegal spot.
“Good thing I was actually walking out to my car,” he said. “And there was a tow truck literally right next to my car … I was like, there’s no way you’re towing my car right now. Where else am I going to park, you know?”
What I liked about my job today was that I could whine to the mayor of New Haven, John DeStefano, about this, and ask what gives. It’s a math problem and an energy problem, is basically what I was told.
“You know what? At some point, we do stop plowing, and we do stop removing snow,” he said. The storm has already cost the city more than $2 million; on Monday, with schools ready to be back in session, he decided enough was enough. “We’ve been essentially done except for emergency and safety issues for two days now.” It took as many as 30 payloaders — a few from the city and from the National Guard, but mostly contractors — to remove as much snow as the city did. A lot of it went here, to this public lot reserved for that purpose:
In Bridgeport, snow is even more of a political issue. Some residents are calling for Mayor Bill Finch to resign, and a Facebook page created this week to that effect has more than 120 “likes.” They say the city took too long to dig them out immediately after the storm, and now, they’re dealing with 20-foot-high mountains of snow piled at many intersections by plows. Imagine turning into an intersection and staring this guy in the face, for instance:
Clearly, the city can’t be finished removing snow with payloaders and dump trucks. And it isn’t, emergency director Scott Appleby tells me. He thinks it’ll take at least a couple more weeks to get rid of these dangerous mountains at intersections all over the city. He also vehemently defends Bridgeport’s response to the storm — originally, forecasters said the city would “only” (ha!) get 18 inches of snow.
Bridgeport actually got more than 31-38 inches. But no one realized that, apparently, until around 10:30 p.m. Friday night, the night the storm hit. That’s when, as Appleby puts it, “the system stalled.” Plow and truck drivers had already been pulling 12-hour shifts to deal with the amount of snow. And the people due for a second shift couldn’t get to work.
Appleby said the city learned many important lessons from the storm: Communicate better, with residents as well as weather forecasters. Institute parking bans and emergency declarations farther in advance, even if it may seem a little premature.
Cut down on contracting, by far the biggest expense, if at all possible – maybe even by using volunteers or other agencies. Maybe earlier parking bans would have prevented bizarre and hilarious scenes like this one:
New Haven’s mayor DeStefano was less forthcoming with “lessons learned” that can help during another snow emergency.
“I think there are things you can learn, but the things you learn may have nothing to do with the storm you next experience,” he said.
Or, the money to implement lessons may not be there. The city could try to lock in contractors in advance at a fixed price to save money – but that usually requires paying something upfront before a storm is even forecasted. Bringing in more equipment and staff means hiring more supervisors – which the city can’t afford. More outside contractors or National Guard members only go so far when they’re not familiar with New Haven’s streets in an emergency.
Maybe the most important thing we need to do, DeStefano told me, is temper our expectations. OK, fine. I don’t expect to find a legal parking spot on my street anytime soon. So I’m parking in the “no standing anytime” zone. And if I get a ticket, someone’s going to pay. Also, I’m going to walk on the street in situations like this, so I don’t get trapped on the sidewalk again:
Follow Neena Satija on Twitter.
Most of the region was preparing for an almost normal Monday morning commute. But eastern Long Island and much of Connecticut and were still digging out from more than two feet of snowfall.
Much of the region is under a blizzard warning as a nor'easter bears down on the area. Here's the latest on official statements, planning and updates that you'll need to watch.
The National Weather Service has placed New York City, Long Island and Southern Westchester under a blizzard warning, in effect from 6 a.m. Friday, to 1 p.m. Saturday.
You know those stunningly symmetrical, glittery snowflakes you see everywhere at a certain time of year -- hanging from streetlights, stitched on sweaters, and sprinkled all over tv? Those perfectly-etched pictures are all a big lie. Latif Nasser explains how it all began in a cold, snowy ...
New York City's sanitation department says it's preparing for a trace to an inch of snow Tuesday. Workers were loading salt spreaders today on Monday in anticipation of the wintry weather.
While the heat pounds the poor souls at sea level, this mountain road on Mt. Baker, Washington is still a canyon of snow.
WASDOT writes: "This photo was taken July 2nd as crews are still working to clear the road up to Artist Point."
(Red Lodge, MT - YPR) – Snow, blowing snow, and icy road conditions kept most of the scenic Beartooth Pass closed over the Memorial Day weekend. The high-elevation highway skirts the Montana-Wyoming border and leads to the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The highest point along this All-American Road is at the West Summit/Beartooth Pass Overlook at 10,947 feet.
Montana highway crews clear snow from the road just south of Red Lodge to the Wyoming-border. National Park Service Crews take over from there into Yellowstone Park. Crews had the road cleared for the traditional start to the summer tourist season, but a late spring snow storm delayed the opening to motorized vehicles.
Winter conditions meant the crews could keep the road open only to the Rock Creek Vista Point rest area. Later, however, crews closed the road because of icy road conditions.
It's been a particularly mild winter (remember the days of Snow-mageddon?), with temperatures today reaching into the upper 50s. Are you a "man with a plow", do you sell winter hats or organize ski trips? How is the mild winter affecting your bottom line? Give us a call 212.433.WNYC, or post your story here!
This winter has been unseasonably warm and snow free. It means New York City, which was prepared for a winter like last year, has clean up funds and rock salt on hand.
A winter storm of snow, sleet and freezing rain hit the area early Saturday morning. It dropped between 2 and 4 inches on the city and its suburbs before the bulk of the storm passed in the early afternoon.
The MTA had one of the lowest moments in weather history during the blizzard of 2010, when buses were stranded and passengers stuck on snow-bound trains for hours. But there's been no opportunity to test out lessons learned this winter.
In advance of the first biggish storm of the season in NYC, a predicted 2-6 inches, the MTA is showing off its snow-removal equipment this time around. The MTA says it will run normal service Saturday, but advices customers to check its mta.info website for updates. All track work and repair is suspended during the storm.
A winter storm is expected to hit the area late Friday night — dumping as much a six inches of snow in the metropolitan area by Saturday night.
The warm start to winter hasn't been a boon for everyone - especially ski resorts that rely on colder temperatures for business.
As New York City endures a record-breaking, unseasonably early winter storm, those camping out in Zuccotti Park as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests are getting their first taste of what conditions may be like when the seasons officially change.
An analysis of city data by WNYC shows home owners on this block of two- and three-story homes on Freeman Street — between Union and Prospect avenues — tallied an astonishing 41 violations for failure to clear snow from the sidewalk this winter.
New Yorkers took advantage of warmer temperatures Monday -- and some even did a little spring cleaning.
Winter-weary New Yorkers aren't the only ones reaching their breaking point.
PHOTOS. Clambering over a black and grey snow bank, Almando Martinez's foot sunk into crunchy ice. The 50-year-old plumber looked down and groaned. “It’s disgusting,” he said. “It’s the dirtiest I’ve ever seen.”