With the abundance of snow during Wednesday’s storm, one might have come to the conclusion that the city no longer plows side streets or it had changed its procedure.
Neither of these conclusions is correct.
Jeff Lehman, city Public Works Department director, said the plowing policy for the city has been the same for more than a decade. He said there are 13 total routes, with 12 being residential.
“This is how it was set up in 1994 when I became director. In the late 1990s, they added four more operators, but a few years later they let those go,” he said. “We’ve been on the same man level for many years.”
He said each route takes between 10 to 12 hours to complete.
“Obviously we start with the main (highways) and work toward the dead-end streets,” he said. “We will stay on top of the main roads, they might get hit twice. It is based on the storm.”
During a snowstorm like Wednesday’s, Lehman said it will take the drivers 12 hours to complete their route. Lehman said the drivers usually only work eight-hour shifts, but during a severe snowstorm they will work 12 hours.
“We had full crews on for 24 hours (Wednesday),” he said. “We held the day crew in until 6 p.m. and then the night crew was in.”
Lehman said people following the 10 a.m. alternate-side parking rule is vital to ensuring streets are plowed regularly. From Oct. 1 to March 31, people should park on the odd-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered days and on the even-numbered side on even-numbered days.
“If people are not moving until noon, it takes two hours away from our guys,” he said.
He also said, after a storm, streets will look messy again the next day after people move their cars from the side of the street where city drivers weren’t able to plow.
“The next day they have to go around and clean up the other side of the street,” he said.
Lehman said he is in constant contact with the drivers during their routes. However, he said if there is a complaint about a street and its snowy condition, he will not contact the driver to instantly handle the complaint.
“There is no reason to keep calling them. They know where they have to go,” he said.
Lehman said on a day where there is no storm, he will be glad to handle any concern from residents about the condition of their street.
“Call me on a day (when it is not snowing), we will have someone there quickly to assess the situation,” he said.