80 Tows Later, Main Roads Cleared
by Allan Appel | Feb 13, 2013 9:37 am
Posted to: Fair Haven, Winter Storm Nemo
As the oscillating lights of a police cruiser and the beams of a tow-truck neared, Tom Chan rushed out of his El Coqui Spanish Restaurant on Grand Avenue to find a $100 ticket on the windshield of his grey Nissan Frontier. His car was in the way of a push to clear main roads so New Haveners could return to work Wednesday.
It was night one of a two-night towing bender as New Haven entered the home stretch of getting streets back to normal in the wake of Winter Storm Nemo, which dumped an historic 34 inches of snow on the city.
Tow-truck drivers, cops and ticketers fanned out on major streets like Grand Tuesday night to enforce a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. parking ban to make room for the big trucks to widen roads that had previously been cleared just enough for emergency vehicles.
The city ended up needing to tow around 80 vehicles, according to city transportation czar Jim Travers.
The action continues Wednesday night. Parking is banned on the odd-numbered side of all roads in town, no matter how small, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., so the crews can finish the job. The city promises to tow all vehicles still on the way.
Unless owners get lucky like Tom Chan.
After expressing his dismay to a parking supervisor (click on the play arrow to the above video to watch their spirited tete-a-tete), he drove his Nissan into a nearby parking lot.
Crews towed four other vehicles parked at around 9 on Grand between Blatchley and Fillmore in a ten-minute period, as parking enforcement staff riding in a police cruiser summoned the tow trucks following behind them. It was zero tolerance for parked cars, and a field day for towing companies.
Parking enforcement supervisor Ray Willis, who wrote Chan’s ticket, was riding in a police car driven by Officer Jose Luna and followed by a tow truck, with other tow vehicles hovering nearby.
Willis said the crew hadn’t towed any vehicles in his Fair Haven sector of the action until they got approximately to the area around the Christopher Columbus Family Academy. There, a Ford Econoline van, a Chevy 10, a Ford Focus, and a Honda all were tagged and received a not-so-free trip to the tow lots.
The “Code 74” or snow emergency violation carries a $100 fine if you pay right away, $200 after Feb. 27 and $250 if you pay after March 4.
Willis noted that the city offered ample noticing on the city website and other online locations. Chan, who said he does not use a computer, had not known of the warning. He pointed to a telephone pole nearby where he looks for paper notices to be posted, but none were for Tuesday night’s operation, Willis conceded.
Chan said he was parked out front, as he always was in the evening, because he drives in to pick up his employees at closing time.
Willis told Chan that all tickets in New Haven can be appealed. During snow emergencies, the authorities tend to be more lenient.
Chan said he was going down to the Hall of Records in the morning to appeal and, if necessary, to pay. He was aghast at the price. “A hundred dollars!” he kept repeating.
Willis said four teams like his had been driving through the city between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.to inform people of the ban, including broadcasting the warnings in English and Spanish as they passed.
Towing was essential because minutes behind the enforcement and towing troops the heavy equipment caravan followed: a payloader to scoop up the snow, two large dump trucks to receive and cart it off, followed by a smaller plow truck to tidy up and a vehicle to distribute sand and salt on the slippery, black-ice road surface. Those vehicles can’t pass roads blocked by parked cars.
Public works operator Albert Miller said his Fair Haven crew was taking the snow to a dump site on Marginal Drive off Route 34 by the Yale Bowl.
Tags: Winter Storm Nemo, towing
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The three other things, besides posting on our website, to let people know about the towing were:
1) using the PA system on the police cruisers (on Grand we did it in English and Spanish),
2) our reverse-911 notice system (if you would like your cell phone on the system, go to http://www.cityofnewhaven.com and click on the orange “Emergency Information”),
3) there are permanent metal signs on these arterials declaring them snow emergency routes that are subject to towing.
I say tow all the cars to an island with no ferry access. It was glorious not having them harass us all for a few days.
I would have liked to see more enforcement of the driving ban, or a much heftier fine for driving during the ban.
People were out early on Saturday, defying the ban, getting stuck, getting tow trucks stuck who tried to get them out, etc.. It was a joke.
“I didn’t know” is not an excuse… It’s a snow emergency, it’s everyone’s job to stay informed, and there were plenty of ways to do so. The city hall has been calling my house twice a day with updates; thank you!
Let me see if I have any sympathy.
None under the bed.
Did I leave any over here?
Sorry, could not find any.
I notice that nowhere—here in NHI or on the city web site—is there a listing of streets that WERE CLEARED last night. So readers might assume that all the streets either mentioned in the NHI article yesterday or on the city web site were in fact plowed and had piled up snow removed.
However there is one street, with permanent metal signs declaring it a snow emergency route, that was NOT cleared last night. Fountain Street is also part of a city bus route (“Q”-Edgewood Ave) and has a public school, Mauro-Sheridan magnet school, K-8. In order for the school to open up, the huge mounds of snow lining the street will have to be removed. Particularly in the afternoon about 3:30, in addition to the 5 or 6 school buses in the curb cutout in front of the school, at least as that many are queuing up curbside between Emerson Street & the Westville firehouse. However, the mounds of snow there now make that impossible.
Can I hope that Fountain will be cleared tonight in phase 2 of this plow and remove effort?
I would also hope that the city can make this a learning experience for future reference in dealing with snow removal problems. I have, as you may imagine, some specific ideas to offer for improvement, but not here. I will contact my alderperson and present my thoughts in an objective problem solving manner.
Can’t find sympathy for any of these folks. In fact, I think the fine should be tripled. We can’t complain about poor snow plowing, and then park willy nilly all over the city from Westville to Fair Haven.
I was waiting for the traffic calming horse and buggy crowd to show up. I’m surprised it took so long.
Some misinformation was recently distributed via email regarding parking. The press release on the city website agrees with NHI that parking is allowed on EVEN sides of the streets tonight and thurs.
How about the people who could not get into or out of there driveways because the city dump snow in there driveways.
3/5th, the city did not dump snow into people’s driveways. Snow was pushed in front of drives during plowing operations.
Yet there is this thing, widely available in hardware stores, home centers, and even super markets, called a “snow shovel.” One might try using that.
It is “their” not “there” when used as a possessive.