The Northside seems more or less content with Pittsburgh’s new snow removal plan, if low attendance at a late January meeting about the plan is any indicator.
City officials, including Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski, Community Outreach Coordinator Christie Berger of the Mayor’s Office and Audrey Glickman of Council President Darlene Harris’s office, outnumbered the two Northsiders in attendance.
The meeting was originally planned for Jan. 20, but was postponed to Jan. 27 because of snow, making residents wonder why the plan wasn’t rolled out before winter hit.
Kaczorowski said he wanted to hold the meetings in November, even though not all of the snow emergency route signs had been posted, and the city had not finalized a map of the routes.
Holding up the map, he said, “This was morphed so many times it was unbelievable.”
Berger added city officials thought December would be a bad time to hold community meetings because of holiday parties.
The new snow removal plan, developed after 27 inches of snow last February left much of Pittsburgh stuck for days, set up about 220 miles of snow emergency routes and guidelines for how Public Works will respond and how long it has to complete snow removal.
The plan breaks snowfall down into four phases allows the mayor to declare a snow emergency when 10 or more inches of snow are forecasted.
During an emergency Public Works can hire pre-qualified contractors to help with snow removal. Cars also can’t park on snow emergency routes, and may be towed or given a ticket. Kaczorowski said tow trucks will not take cars to the impound, but move them out of the way if they impede snow removal efforts.
“If you get back your car might be plowed in,” he said.
In determining which roads would be emergency snow routes, Kaczorowski said the goal was to make sure people had access in and out of their neighborhoods, and access to public transportation.
Residents will need to wait the appropriate amount of time before calling the city to complain that their streets are not plowed, but Public Works will make exception in the case of medical and other emergencies, including pregnancy.
Public Works purchased new equipment this year that is better able to cope with Pittsburgh’s 1200 miles of hilly, curved roads and increased the number of snow removal equipment and supplies stockpiles throughout the city to make response time faster, Kaczorowksi said.
Typically, Public Works sends 71 pieces of equipment, including plows and salt trucks, out for snow removal.
“We send everything we can on a shift,” he said. “They’re set up to work 12 hours shifts until they get all the streets clear.”
The following Northside routes are snow emergency routes: I-279, Ohio River Boulevard, Beaver Avenue, California Avenue, Brighton Road, Marshall Avenue, N. Charles Avenue, Woods Run Avenue, Mairdale Avenue, Perrysville Avenue, Federal Street, North Avenue, Commons Drive, East Ohio Street, East Street, Madison Avenue, Rhine Street, Itin Street, Chestnut Street, Spring Garden Avenue, Troy Hill Road.