City battles snow

The city of New Haven has towed approximately 250 cars since last Wednesday, according to city official Jim Travers.
The city of New Haven has towed approximately 250 cars since last Wednesday, according to city official Jim Travers. Photo by Victor Kang.

Even as the city continues to dig out of the last several weeks of snowstorms, it is already readying its crews for the next one.

At a press conference at City Hall Monday, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. announced the city’s strategy to confront today’s mix of wintry weather. In anticipation of today’s snow and sleet, DeStefano said crews were scheduled to pre-treat intersections and steep inclines throughout the city at starting 11 p.m. Monday night. Plows are still completing snow removal from streets that were previously impassable and have already removed over 400 truckloads of snow.

The recent snow emergency has been unkind to cars. The city has towed about 250 cars since the snow emergency began. The snow has caused an increase in automobile accidents and traffic delays.
The recent snow emergency has been unkind to cars. The city has towed about 250 cars since the snow emergency began. The snow has caused an increase in automobile accidents and traffic delays.
New Haven’s snow-removal budget has been strained by recent snowfall — the city has already spent $622,000, easily exceeding the $500,000 originally allocated for the purpose.
New Haven’s snow-removal budget has been strained by recent snowfall — the city has already spent $622,000, easily exceeding the $500,000 originally allocated for the purpose.

“We’re moving from snow removal to being concerned about flooding and accidents,” DeStefano said.

The city has allocated $500,000 to deal with snow removal, but the cost of handling the current slew of snowstorms has already reached $622,000. DeStefano said he believes some portion of the cost would be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The city forecasts two to six inches beginning at 6 a.m. this morning. Starting then, DeStefano said the city will aggressively enforce its parking ban on snow emergency routes and the odd side of 30 narrow streets announced to residents by phone. DeStefano encouraged residents to carpool or use public transit.

According to Jim Travers, acting director of the Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking, the city has towed around 250 cars since the snow emergency was declared on Wednesday.

The snow is also causing a surge in automobile accidents — 56 accidents already took place in the past 24 hours, according to Lt. Patricia Helliger of the New Haven Police Department.

Ward 29 Alderman and President of the Board of Aldermen Carl Goldfield said the last time the city went over its snow removal budget was in the mid-1990s. Goldfield said that in general, he thinks the city has dealt effectively with the snow, but officials may simply have been unprepared for the volume of snow to be removed.

“This isn’t Buffalo, N.Y. — we’re used to about eight or nine inches followed by a warm spell that melts everything within a few days,” Goldfield said. “The city may have been a bit overconfident about its ability to handle this, but it really is an unusual snow event we’re having.”

Ward 22 and Ward 30 Aldermen Greg Morehead and Darnell Goldson called for city officials involved in the cleanup to brief aldermen about its progress at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening. But last night, Goldfield postponed the briefing to sometime next week in order to not divert officials involved in the cleanup.

Goldfield said he hopes the meeting can provide aldermen with a sense of how the city can be better prepared for future snowstorms.

The Emergency Operations Center, in the basement of 200 Orange St., will be open 24 hours a day for the remainder of storm management efforts.

Comments

  • ROFLCOPTER

    “6 a.m. this morning.”

  • Andreology

    New Haven should not have to beg for assistance from FEMA. Why should taxpayers in West Virginia pay for our snow removal? A well-run city keeps a rainy-day fund for just such emergencies.