Some major neighborhood streets will start seeing a single lane plowed Sunday—and if you nudge your car in the way, the city plans to tow it.
That was the latest word Sunday morning from the man overseeing New Haven’s response to Winter Storm Nemo, city Chief Administrative Officer Rob Smuts.
The city has been moving into phase two of its response to the record blizzard, which dumped 34 inches of snow on New Haven in less than a day.
The first phase involve plowing the bunch of most heavily traveled roads—Dixwell, Howard, Whalley, Grand avenues, Church & Chapel—in order for emergency vehicles to be able to travel the city. Mission accomplished.
The current phase involves plowing a single lane in the next most heavily traveled roads in each neighborhood. The ban remains on people driving on those roads. The idea is to enable fire trucks and ambulances to get close enough—a few blocks or so—to every street in town to deal with a fire or other emergency.
Smuts cautioned that people should not take that as a signal to inch their cars out into the road. The lanes need to stay clear to handle fire trucks.
He said he knows people have been trying to dig out their cars and may be looking for places to put them. But in order to keep people safe in emergencies, the city plans to get all the cars out of the way, even if they’re only partway in the lane.
“As we open up roads and people start digging out,” Smuts said, “we will be aggressively towing if people block the narrow routes that we open up. When we initially open a street up, it will have just a narrow travel lane, just enough for fire apparatus. If people encroach in that with a car, we will tow them. We will be very aggressive about that.”
The city cautions it could take days for plows to get to many side streets. Officials continue to plead with New Haveners not to drive on local roads; dealing with stuck cars has hampered the plowing effort.