City plows through storm

henrysnow
Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

As snow blanketed the Elm City Tuesday night, both Yale and New Haven prepared themselves — elected officials, bureaucratic administrators and non-profit aid agency managers took precautions to prevent the snowfall from causing damage to either city property or poverty-stricken residents.

In a Tuesday press release, Mayor Toni Harp announced a series of measures designed to alleviate the effects of the snowstorm, nicknamed “Winter Storm Janus.” The most notable of these was that the City of New Haven would be enforcing a parking ban from midnight to 7 a.m. The ban will be enforced in the heart of Yale’s campus, an area bordered by Howe Street, Tower Parkway, Grove Street, State Street and  North Frontage Road, and will allow parking only on the even side of the streets in residential neighborhoods. The mayor also announced that New Haven’s three senior centers and all its public schools would be closed, and both Union Station and New Haven’s various libraries will be open throughout the day to New Haven residents as “warming centers.”

Shelters serving as more permanent housing options are expected to be heavily in use. Yasmine Zayas, a resident associate at the Life Haven Shelter, said that the shelter was expected to be full to capacity due to the weather. The shelter’s directive was one known as a ‘freeze-out’ policy: no one with children could be turned away.

“We usually have an intake process, but due to the weather there should be no one locked out,” she said. “We have to accept anybody that comes through the door.”

Patrick McGowan, Manager of Reference Services for the New Haven Public Library, said the library had to cancel an afternoon tutoring program and close well before its normal Tuesday 8 p.m. closing time due to the snow. The Columbus House and Yale-New Haven Hospital did not return requests for comment.

This snowstorm is the second the Harp Administration has experienced after less than a month in City Hall. Ward 7 Alderman and incoming director of traffic and parking Doug Hausladen ’04 said that the administration was well prepared, and that Tuesday night’s blizzard would be less “intense” than previous January storms.

According to Accuweather as of Tuesday night, Janus was expected to drop six to 12 inches of snow on New Haven. Also, temperatures were expected to dip below zero Tuesday night through Wednesday. Yale officials will also deploy a series of their own measures pertaining to its campuses in New Haven and West Haven.

Maria Bouffard, Director of Yale Emergency Management, said in an email Tuesday night that departments such as Facilities and Dining will “have plans in place to ensure that the University does not experience any interruptions in services.” She said that the University will bring additional people, as needed, to help clear the snow and ensure that walkways and sidewalks are open.

Yale and New Haven will collaborate closely not only during the snow but also during the inclement weather in the coming days, said Laurence Grotheer, the Mayor’s Communications Director. According to Grotheer, the Yale and New Haven Police Departments will be “actively canvassing the city to get [the homeless] out of the cold.”

“I think as circumstances and conditions warrant, I see this as an ongoing collaboration,” he said. “This is the second time now in three weeks that this protocol has been activated and it has to do with the extreme weather.”

The heaviest two-day snowstorm in the history of the City of New Haven occurred on November 26,1898, and lasted for 30 hours.

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