As snow fell heavily Monday afternoon, Mayor Toni Harp extended the citywide parking ban overnight, while University snow crews plowed pathways around campus to clear the foot and a half of snow that had accumulated over the course of the day.
The parking ban, which began at 1 a.m. Monday and was set to last until further notice, will not be lifted until 6 a.m. Tuesday. The ban, Harp said in an email, allows emergency snow-clearing vehicles better access to city streets. City Hall spokesperson Laurence Grotheer said over 400 cars have been ticketed and towed since the parking ban was issued yesterday morning.
“The parking ban is the most critical part of the city’s response to the storm,” Grotheer said. “Residents should realize the city is going to take it seriously. It’s a public safety issue.”
City Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81 reiterated the importance of the parking ban in an email sent to the New Haven business community and city residents this afternoon. The ban will expedite snow clearance, which will allow businesses to re-open as soon as possible, he wrote.
Winter Storm Linus spurred 24-hour postponements of Harp’s State of the City address and a meeting of the Board of Alders, both originally scheduled for Monday evening. The city’s Board of Education, also set to meet yesterday evening, canceled its meeting. New Haven Public School officials will make a final decision by 5 a.m. Tuesday morning on whether to cancel or delay schools.
As city officials struggled to organize government meetings, businesses, too, faced challenges attracting customers amidst blizzard conditions.
Flanked by the Apple Store and the Yale Bookstore, both of which closed before 5 p.m. this evening, Thali Too on Broadway stayed open until 8 p.m., hoping to entice restaurant-goers, manager Rattan Kaul said.
Kaul estimated that business had dropped by 75 percent in the wake of storms Juno and Linus.
“We decided to stay open, thinking people would come looking for a restaurant option,” he said. “But very few people came.”
Grotheer added that Linus has proved more challenging for the city to manage compared to Juno because of the nature of the storm. Sunday night, the storm began with thick snowfall. By early Monday morning, the snow had transitioned into sleet and freezing rain — giving way to icy conditions on streets and sidewalks. The precipitation shifted back to heavy snowfall Monday afternoon.
The city deployed a full fleet of 40 trucks to clear streets Sunday night, and, though fewer trucks were out during the day Monday, 30 trucks will be working through Monday night, according to Grotheer.
“The snow and ice deposited by this winter storm has to be cleared away before it freezes,” Harp said in a statement.
With temperatures projected to drop as low as zero degrees early Tuesday morning, icy conditions are the city’s Emergency Operations Center’s major concern, according to Grotheer.
While Harp did not declare a travel ban in the city as she did last week during Blizzard Juno, she dubbed travel conditions “treacherous,” due to the dangerously icy roads masked by a thick layer of snow. Harp recommended that residents stay indoors through Monday night, if possible.
“Ice is very difficult to manage, and, right now, the roads are very, very dangerous — not just in New Haven but across the region,” Deputy Director of Operations at the Emergency Operations Center Rick Fontana said.
Fontana said the snow crews would be laying down sand and salt product on streets and sidewalks starting Monday night once the precipitation stopped. He added that the layer of snow between the icy sheet and the pavement was helpful for his crews because it acted as a buffer against the ice.
After plowing snow and managing ice, the city’s next step will be to clear snow banks later today.