On Narrow Streets, A Treacherous Plow

Thomas MacMillan PhotosCraning his neck to see out the windshield, Ray Rivas worked the steering wheel with his left hand and the plow-blade controls with his right. Could he pass his 2008 Sterling plow truck between two parked cars on one-way Chestnut Street?

Nope. He hit both cars.

The city, he said, should have enforced a neighborhood parking ban in the storms leading up to this one.

Rivas, a 26-year veteran of the Department of Public Works, admitted it was his fault he scraped the two cars. He also said had the city sbanned parking in neighborhoods during the snowstorm that hit town Thursday, that would have made it easier to plow.

Rivas’ supervisor Rich Christensen, who showed up to document the damage, agreed: The city should have declared a residential parking ban.

Neighbors agree too. Throughout this year’s snowy storm season (four storms in two weeks), people have been clamoring for parking bans enforced by ticketing and towing.

Hasn’t happened. Technically, the city told people in previous storms not to park on the odd side of neighborhood streets, so plows can clear them. But despite a consensus developed three years ago during similar storms, the city chose not to enforce the ban with ticketing or plowing. So the narrow streets never got cleared. Now, in Winter Storm Pax, they couldn’t be cleared. It was too late to move cars even if officials wanted to. Plow drivers like Rivas were left with extra-narrow roads to try to clear.

As a result, officials said Thursday, they may revisit the issue yet again and resume trying to enforce neighborhood street-parking bans in future storms.

History Repeats Itself

Without a ban, the streets have become narrower and narrower after each storm. Mounds of uncleared snow force cars to park farther and farther away from the curb. When cars are parked on both sides of small side streets made even narrower by snow, plow trucks sometimes can’t enter streets at all.

Public works chief Doug Arndt said the city’s plowing resources are stretched thin. The combination of repeated storms and cold temperatures has made it impossible to clear the streets fully.

“At this point, we have so much snow on the ground that we are really having a physically difficult problem,” Arndt said. “With our tight residential streets, it really becomes very intensive work to go into these neighborhood, and we basically can’t get out there unless we are allowed to bring in additional resources.”

Asked if the streets might now be clearer if the city had enforced residential parking bans in earlier storms, Arndt said that weather has been the problem. “We’re supposed to get thawing in between these storms. That’s not happening. We have had very cold temperatures and repeat storms,” he said.

In fact, that was the point made in 2011 during a series of storms: The snow doesn’t always thaw in time for the next storm. Officials reached a consensus at that time, after narrow side streets were blocked by snow accumulated from multiple storms, drawing the wrath of neighbors.  In the wake of those storms, the then-DeStefano administration concluded, along with some of the vocal neighbors, that the city needs to declare a ban on parking on one side of those streets—before the snow starts. And then the city needs to tow cars aggressively, and promptly. Otherwise it will never be able to dig out. “We learned the public will appreciate [aggressive towing] as long as we’re [clear] and follow through,” Mayor John DeStefano said at the time. “We’re going to be more aggressive about towing. People are pretty accepting and really cooperating.”

Despite the city’s failure to enforce residential parking bans this year, traffic tsar Doug Hausladen promised that cars will be ticketed and towed during future bans.

“When we call a snow ban, there is going to be enforcement. Right now there is no snow ban on residential areas.”

Rivas Keeps Plugging

With no ban in effect Thursday, Rivas maneuvered his enormous white plow truck between parked cars on narrower and narrower streets Thursday. He couldn’t fit through a gap between two cars on Lyon Street and had to back out. On Chestnut Street, he thought he could squeeze between a red Taurus and a gray Ford Focus. He was wrong.

Rivas, who’s 56, showed up for work at 4 a.m. Thursday, driving in from his home in West Haven just as the snow was starting up. He climbed into truck 160 and headed out to plow Route 2—one of 22 in the city—which covers Wooster Square and part of East Rock.

By 11 a.m. he was on State Street, taking his second pass on some of the side streets there. On Bishop Street (pictured), he marveled at how fast the snow was piling up. “This was plowed before 9:30” he said. “By the time you do it once and go around, it’s covered over.”

Rivas took a couple of passes on Humphrey Street, an important artery. He turned down Clark Street, slowing down to maneuver carefully between cars.

“Any more snow and I won’t be able to come down here,” he said. “They should have a parking ban when it snows like this.”

At the intersection of Clark and Pleasant, Rivas decided he couldn’t fit his truck down the western half of Clark, and turned up Pleasant.

Eld Street was also narrow. As he inched down the street between parked cars, Rivas kept a close eye on the two yellow antennas that mark the edge of his 12-foot plow blade.

“This is going to be tight,” Rivas said, as he turned from Orange Street onto Bradley. His plow blade slid at the mouth of the street, slipping on a sheet of ice left over from previous storms—unplowed snow compressed into ice. After squeezing down the street, Rivas said Bradley was the most narrowed street he’s seen this winter.

Rivas pointed his plow toward Wooster Square, wove between cars on William Street, then contemplated Lyon Street.

“This is a bad street, right here,” he said. “I usually can’t fit down here. Let’s see ...”

Rivas found his way blocked by a Ford Fusion and a Subaru Outback. “This is one street they need a parking ban real bad.”

Rivas backed out and headed back up William Street. He radioed in to request a smaller truck be assigned to Lyon Street, then found his way to Jefferson Street. He pointed out a green Civic that he’d accidentally scraped while plowing the week before. He had stopped and found the owner, a teacher, who was nice about his mistake, he said.

Moments later, it happened again. Trying to thread the needle on Chestnut Street between the red Taurus and the gray Focus, Rivas saw the Focus move. That meant he’d hit it, nudged it with the plow. Pulling back, he scraped the right rear fender of the Taurus (pictured).

Rivas jumped out and inspected the damage. He’d dinged the bottom of the rear driver’s-side door on the Focus. He called his supervisor and looked around for the owners of the cars.

“I feel awful,” Rivas said. “But what am I going to do? Hey, it happens.”

Christensen, the supervisor, showed up, wearing an orange hoody and holding the end of a cigar between his teeth. He called a cop to make an accident report, then took pictures of the damage with his cell phone.

The woman who owns the Taurus ventured out to inspect the damage. “It’s not bad,” she said. The city will take care of it, she said. “That truck’s too big to get down this street,” she noted.

“They should do a parking ban before the storm starts,” Christensen said as he waited for the cop to arrive. “When we get to these small streets, we’d be able to get through them.”

As it is, people are bound to complain that the plow trucks didn’t touch their street, Christensen said. “We tried.”

Christensen said he lives in Stratford, where a parking ban went into effect Wednesday night. New Haven didn’t do that for Thursday’s storm, or for previous storms, so ice has accumulated on the streets, Christensen said.

The city needs to ban cars, and enforce the ban, Christensen said. “If they don’t enforce it, then we’re back to square one.”

After a police officer pulled up and took information for an accident report, Rivas backed his truck out onto St. John Street. “That’s one street I’m going to take off my list,” he said as he drove away from Chestnut Street.

An earlier version of this story follows:

Odd Side? Even Side? Park Wherever

Thomas MacMIllan PhotoOfficials are giving up on trying to get people to avoid parking on the odd side of neighborhood streets when a new burst of snow arrives Thursday. They did not enforce the ban in recent storms—and now accumulated ice and snow have made the parking lanes unplowable.

That word came as officials prepared for yet another major storm, scheduled to begin before dawn.

It’s now too risky to try to clear residential streets to the curb, since the accumulated mounds of snow at the sides of streets have turned to ice that could damage city equipment. As a result, a debate that appeared settled three years ago has reemerged in this snowy winter of 2014.

Rick Fontana, the city’s director of emergency operations, offered explanation the parking plan at a pre-snowstorm briefing Wednesday afternoon in the city’s Emergency Operations Center at 200 Orange St. City officials gathered there to coordinate efforts to deal with Winter Storm Pax, the latest in a series of snowstorms to arrive in the city.

Pax is expected to hit town early Thursday morning, dump five to six inches of heavy, wet snow by lunchtime, then turn to rain. Forecasters say the rain will turn back to snow on Thursday evening, delivering another two to four inches. Fontana said the city could receive a total of eight inches of snow.


In previous snowstorms this year, the city has tried various forms of residential bans on odd-side parking, the side on which fire hydrants are located. In the first storm of the year, Hercules, neighbors were “encouraged” to park on the even-numbered side of the street. During the second storm, Janus, the city said that people parking on the odd side could face ticketing and towing. (Most, if not all, the ticketing and towing took place downtown and on snow routes, not on neighborhood streets.) During Winter Storm Nika, earlier this month, city traffic tsar Doug Hausladen asked people to park on the even side of streets, but announced odd-side cars wouldn’t be towed.

The policy for Thursday’s storm? Go ahead and park on the odd side if you want—and the even side, too.

There will be a parking ban downtown and on posted snow routes between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. Friday. Parking is also not allowed 25 feet from intersections, fire hydrants, and bus stops. No neighborhood odd-side bans, as of right now.

Fontana said there’s no point asking people to stay off the odd side of streets in this storm, since plow trucks will be sticking to the middle of the street. The plows won’t try to tackle the thick accumulated slabs and mounds of ice in the parking lanes, at the risk of damaging their equipment, Fontana said.

Ongoing confusion and inconsistency with regard to residential parking bans during snowstorms has led to consternation and complaints throughout town. The issue goes back several years, and was supposed to have been resolved.

In 2011, some narrow side streets were blocked by snow accumulated from multiple storms, drawing the wrath of neighbors.

In the wake of those storms, the then-DeStefano administration concluded, along with some of the vocal neighbors, that the city needs to declare a ban on parking on one side of those streets—before the snow starts. And then the city needs to tow cars aggressively, and promptly. Otherwise it will never be able to dig out.

“We learned the public will appreciate [aggressive towing] as long as we’re [clear] and follow through,” Mayor John DeStefano said at the time. “We’re going to be more aggressive about towing. People are pretty accepting and really cooperating.”

The lessons of 2011 never led to consistent action. This year they have been abandoned altogether, leading to ongoing complaints from neighbors. The lack of enforcement on parking bans so far this year has prevented plows from fully clearing residential streets. Some narrow streets have parked cars walled in by mounds of snow that has turned to ice.

In a open letter sent Wednesday to Hausladen and Mayor Toni Harp, East Rock activist Lisa Siedlarz, called on the city to institute and enforce a parking ban before the snow starts falling—and enforce it.

“The city always, always waits until there is significant snow on the ground to ‘suggest’ people move their cars to certain lots,” Siedlarz wrote. “So now people are faced with having to dig out their cars in order to move them. And with no parking ban enforced, people choose to ignore the suggestion.”

Siedlarz concluded with a plea for action: “We beseech you to please put a parking ban into effect immediately, and provide alternatives to parking on the street. Please. We know what is coming. Lets take a proactive approach.”

Fontana (pictured) said the city decided not to call a parking ban downtown Wednesday night because of the timing of the storm. Since the snow won’t hit until Thursday morning and the city doesn’t institute parking bans during the day on business days, it doesn’t make sense to ban cars for just a few hours of snowfall Thursday morning, Fontana said.

The city doesn’t ban daytime parking downtown during snowstorms because it doesn’t want to hurt shops and restaurants, Fontana said. “If we put a parking ban into effect in the downtown area during a normal business day, we would really have an impact on the Town Green Special Services District and the the businesses downtown.”

In residential neighborhoods, the city doesn’t have to worry about hurting businesses. But it’s not setting a parking ban because of all the accumulated ice from previous storms, Fontana said.

Would that ice be there if the city had enforced residential bans during earlier storms this year?

“There’s always going to be that question,” Fontana said. He said the city is trying to change behavior in the city and has plans to be more aggressive about ticketing and towing in residential areas.

“It takes time to change behavior. Our goal is to change it,” he said. “At some point, we’ve got to become serious and say you can’t park on the odd side. It’s like street-sweeping. We have to aggressively tow people.”

As the snow “loosens up” with rain and warmer temperatures, the city will be moving “aggressively” to clear streets to the curb, Fontana said. That effort may include localized parking bans, he said.

Storm Details

• Snow starts at around 2 or 3 a.m. Five to six inches of heavy, wet snow expected until 11 a.m. Rain starts around lunchtime and will decrease the amount of snow on the streets. In the evening, the rain will turn back to snow, for another two to four inches. In the end, the city may have eight inches of new snow on the ground.

• Unlike previous storms, this one won’t come with a deep freeze, said Fontana.

• With a full moon, flooding could be a problem.

• Downtown parking garages on Crown and Temple streets will have a specials $3-per-day storm rate between 8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. Friday. The Granite Square parking garage will be free overnight Wednesday and Thursday.

• Public works chief Doug Arndt said his plowers will focus on keep the center of streets clear and accessible by public safety vehicles. Assistant Fire Chief Ralph Black said the fire department will be checking streets for accessibility by emergency vehicles.

• Board of Ed operations chief Will Clark said the school board will make a decision Wednesday evening about whether or not to cancel school on Thursday. He said cancellation is likely.

• As of Wednesday afternoon Yale was planning a normal Thursday. Southern Connecticut State University had canceled all day and evening classes Thursday.

• Senior centers will be closed Thursday.

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posted by: JustAnotherTaxPayer on February 12, 2014  8:16pm

The ban, or non-ban is a part of the problem, but my guess is a lack of concern by administrators and city hall. Lip service will suffice, until the evidence of their indifference to removing the snow, and thus making the city more accessible and liveable through the winter months, piles up and freezes all over the place. And this year you do not have to go out to the side streets to see the evidence of neglect. One of the best examples is on Church St, between Crown ST, and Center St. There was a time that this short city block was cleared from the street to the buildings that front that bus stop. It is one of the heaviest spots in Downtown for foot traffic, due to the nexus of so many bus routes. The piles of old snow, which is now ice, starts at the curb, runs the length of the block, and would make pedestrians climb over it, even in the cross walks, and curb cuts for the handicapped. Now on either side of these 3’ tall ice ranges, are the ice ruts in the street, and ice ruts on the sidewalk. All created by a failure of the city to get out there right after the last snow fall, and do their job. Maybe it is a budget shortfall, so deployment of man hours has to rationed, thus these spots fall through the cracks. But what about the rest of downtown? The bus stops on the Green are no better, and Chapel St near Orange is worse than Church St. So where was the snow removed? Good Question, because one can go from Morris Cove, to City Point, through the Hill, to Beaver Hill. From Westville to Newhallville, and the performance of PW is consistent. Consistently bizarre. Does anyone there go out to see what these plow operators are doing? There were streets where going curb to curb was possible, but the plow operators only did lanes down the center of the road. Or the efforts that were made by some plow operators to bury certain cars, that were parked on the even side of the street. And now another 10” of wet snow? Pray that temperatures don’t drop below freezing.

posted by: cp06 on February 12, 2014  8:54pm

Is this an excuse to just do a crappy job plowing? IF the city was serious, it would examine and come up with a policy, post it with signs all over the city and enforce it with towing until people get it. I would think the tow companies would love this. Maybe its better that the administration does not do this though. I can see a towing fest with abysmal plowing.

posted by: Westville voter on February 12, 2014  10:35pm

Utter incompetence! I have lived in many cities where it snows. Every one of them has managed a basic odd-even parking regimen. All of them efficiently and quickly cleared the streets without bankrupting the city. Why can New Haven not manage this simple, basic government function? This is not rocket science. Competent city governments effectively plow the streets. New Haven does not. It is time to stop accepting pathetic excuses and demand that our government do its job. Mayor Harp, you need to fire a lot of people and start over. If you don’t, you need to resign. No more excuses for failure and incompetence. Aldermen, we expect accountability. If you are silent you are complicit. Enough is enough!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 12, 2014  11:25pm

The city could have paid for one of these.



posted by: robn on February 13, 2014  8:35am

That’s it? The solution is to give up?
Great. 687 more days of this.

posted by: DRAD on February 13, 2014  9:13am

Yes, yes the City is incompetent and has done a truly terrible job (and **sigh** as usual no leadership from the new mayor)- but really, can’t we share a little of the blame for this mess with our MANY neighbors who couldn’t be bothered to be good citizens and dig their cars out?  It’s truly obnoxious that nearly every street in New Haven is littered with snowed-in-autos.  Quite frankly, if you can’t or won’t dig your car out, you should be fined so severely that you NEVER do it again - do us a favor and just stop owning a car

posted by: Lisa on February 13, 2014  10:34am

For the last few years I have been very vocal about the city’s incompetence with snow plowing.  I have always said that a parking ban in RESIDENTIAL areas should be enforced before the storm.  It seems like common sense to me to have the cars off the street on one side so that the plows can do their job.  2 storms ago, people made a real effort to keep their cars off the street, and the odd side was plowed to the curb.  This last storm was a disaster.  Despite my pleas, there was no ban until after the snow fell, and then it wasn’t really a ban but a “suggestion.”  So cars didn’t move, everything froze, and now - well.  I blame the city for the mess that is ice.  It’s been suggested to me that people need to find their own emergency parking.  That neighbors need to let neighbors park in their yards. But I argue that many houses don’t have driveways or only have a driveway that fits just one vehicle.  Heck, there are two 3 family houses across the street from me that have no driveways and 7 cars.  On pleasant st, a brownstone that has 6 apartments has no driveway.  Then there is the apt. building on Clark near State that has how many units and not one single parking space.  I could go on, but I think everyone gets the point.  People will cooperate if given options.  And if we would be consistent.  Why are other cities able to handle this, but not us?  It’s really not difficult to figure out.

posted by: Lisa on February 13, 2014  10:40am

DRAD, yep, we are to blame as well.  But if there is no history to of having to move your car, what is the incentive to do so?  Especially after the plows have come and shoved 3 feet of compacted snow against your car. (Which is why I favor getting cars off the street BEFORE the snow)  I do have to wonder - if those people can afford to have their cars frozen in place for weeks at a time, why DO they own a car?

posted by: robn on February 13, 2014  10:48am

Ban odd side parking during snow. Enforce with towing and a shock-and-awe campaign of liberal daily ticketing. Parkers ill get the message and rarely do it again.
How many times do citizens have to ask for this before the administration finally does it?

posted by: Joe City on February 13, 2014  10:57am

I have mixed feelings about this, but the real issue here is that the administration is incompetent. I would like to give them a pass because they are new and this has been a tough year, but pretty much everything they do is bungled, and this is just another example.

After a big snowfall, the snow mounds downtown are normally removed, but after the last storm, for some reason, they weren’t. Bus stops weren’t cleared, handicapped ramps were left blocked, parking spaces left unusable (costing the city money). In the neighborhoods, conditions were worse, with ice patches in the lanes, inaccessible crosswalks, few places to park. All in all, about the worst snow clearing effort I’ve seen.

posted by: concernedcitizenNewHaven on February 13, 2014  12:11pm

I really hate seeing perfectly useful driveways in New Haven sitting empty while there are cars on the road.

HELP EACH OTHER OUT, PEOPLE! Everyone parks in a driveway (cuz NO ONE IS GOING ANYWHERE!) Let the plows do their jobs…then put your cars back on the street.

But that would require a sense of community, which many in New Haven do not have, especially downtown.

posted by: getyourfactstraight on February 13, 2014  4:14pm

No surprise to me. No enforcement, no compliance. Ahhhhh, I see someone in the administration read some of the comments and perhaps tomorrow there will be some sort of plan regarding parking on the streets.

posted by: DavidK on February 13, 2014  5:29pm

Politicians BEWARE. Have you heard of Mayor Bilandic? Probably not, he was a one term mayor of Chicago. One winter a major snowstorm was accepted as a novelty, a week later a nuisance, a month later drivers were aggravated, in June they were pulling out buried cars, in November, Bilandic was gone.

posted by: Lisa on February 13, 2014  5:33pm

Here it is 4:28 pm.  There are no cars parked on Pearl St on the odd side of the street.  Not one plow has come down the street from the city.  Not one.  Can someone explain that logic?  I pleaded with neighbors to get their cars off the street.  Having faith in the new administration, they complied.  Yet AGAIN the city fails at snow plowing.  We try to make their job easy and it gets us nowhere.  So - that means next storm all the residents will ignore any “suggestions” the city makes.  Why can’t we break this cycle?

posted by: cp06 on February 13, 2014  6:30pm

I am concerned that the lack of parking ban and plowing is the new transportation director’s (and other extreme anti-car people) is to make a case for extreme “sneckdown.”

Consider this post by Mark Abraham from Twitter/Facebook (there are many others and all “liked” by the new director of transportation):

“Entire city of New Haven is now a massive #sneckdown. Great to see   result: #20MPH speeds. GL tmrw @doughausladen http://t.co/HcZ2UFdC0F #nhv”

I am for safe streets for bikers and walkers but not to the extreme of unsafe conditions for all out of a hate for cars.

Can the New Haven Independent ask the transportation director if this is indeed on purpose to prove a point?

posted by: pmike241 on February 13, 2014  6:50pm

Westville streets are complete mess!!! I blame our fantastic new Mayor Harp!

posted by: yim-a on February 13, 2014  6:55pm

Was jogging out on Whitney Ave around 3 pm, heading towards Hamden past Edgerton Park.  Before the Hamden town line, a sheet of ice and snow covered Whitney Ave.  Literally 10 yards past the town line, into Hamden, Whitney Ave was well salted, just asphalt with some slush.  Is there some specific technique for clearing snow that the town of Hamden uses to produce such stellar clearing of snow and ice?  New Haven really needs to figure out how Hamden clears the snow so well.

posted by: Walt on February 13, 2014  6:55pm

Obviously the many folks who predicted a mess when the new administrators eliminated parking bans and enforcement were right

Hopefully the new Mayor will insist that the new guy who made   such an obviously stupid move wise-up immediately or be booted out for incompetence.

posted by: New Haven Nuisance on February 13, 2014  7:18pm

Why have we not heard a single word on this issue from our new Mayor?

posted by: dw on February 13, 2014  7:19pm

How hard is it to enforce a parking ban policy?Tow some cars and folks will get the message.I am appalled at the state of my street.I have no driveway and I always observe bans.There are cars on the street completely covered from last storm.These folks obviously don’t use it much AND the house they live in has a driveway.

Epic fail Mayor Harp!

posted by: Yaakov on February 13, 2014  7:32pm

Plowing was horrible the last few years with Destefano at the helm. Plowing is horrible now with Harp at the helm. And I live on Edgewood Ave, a main thoroughfare by any assessment. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

I’ve never lived anywhere with plowing this terrible, including other urban cities in New England and town in the mountains.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 13, 2014  7:36pm

How about using this.

Geothermal and Solar Heat Used to
Melt Snow on Roads.


posted by: Edward Francis on February 13, 2014  8:34pm

“In previous snowstorms this year, the city has tried various forms of residential bans on odd-side parking, the side on which fire hydrants are located.”

There are streets in the City of New Haven where the fire hydrants are on the even numbered side.  So the logic of no parking on the odd side is not because of the fire hydrants.

Hats off to the firefighters who have cleared hundreds of ice encased hydrants over the past two weeks.  After this storm they will be out again hacking away with picks and shovels to ensure the hydrant is accessible.  Help them out if you have a hydrant near your home and are able to pitch in.

posted by: Hill South on February 13, 2014  9:05pm

I live on Truman Street. Last year I convinced my neighbors to move their cars from the odd side of the street but he plows NEVER CAME!!! This year, after the last storm a plow tore into the side of a car parked on the odd side of the street ... during a parking ban. Truman Street is one way, one lane, with parking on both sides. Because of the buildup of the last storm, cars have now encroached a good 2 feet MORE into the already arrow roadway. The plows may not even be able to get down our street. The school at the end of the block has a parking lot that as of 3:00pm had not been cleared. But if it was, cars parked on the odd side of the street could be ticketed then towed and left in the lot. THEN the plows could come down right behind the tow trucks, just like the street cleaners.

posted by: Noteworthy on February 13, 2014  9:12pm

It is mystifying why the city cannot develop a snow parking policy and enforce it. And moreover, it is more mystifying why in the world people are too stupid to move their cars off the street, even on homes where there are long driveways. If the city can’t tow, they can certainly ticket. Dump the meter maids off in these neighborhoods and start writing $100 tickets - at least we’d be able to cover the cost of dinging up the cars. If a street is too narrow because of the cars, just don’t plow it. Maybe people will learn the hard way.

posted by: Lisa on February 13, 2014  9:52pm

Does it really help to comment here.  This veteran plow driver lays it out clearly for the city.  Holy smokes!Holy smokes.  Who can make the case better than the plow operator.  Common Doug Hausladen and Mayor Harp.  Your voters said it first, now your veterans employees who are doing the work reinforce it.  What is wrong here?

posted by: getyourfactstraight on February 13, 2014  10:00pm

Well you certainly cannot blame the plow driver. He did his best considering all the blunders this administration made during previous storms. So the city will pay for the damages to cars and Mayor Harp will keep flip flopping on the issue. Ban, no ban, odd side, even side, no side. Money from the state or feds for emergency situation. Dispose of the snow, but where? For Pete sakes will you please get it together! Use a ban consistently and ticket and/or tow and be decisive. Dump the snow in the parks, we certainly have enough of them to do so. Wow, not really complicated.

posted by: leibzelig on February 13, 2014  10:00pm

It seems to me that there is a lot of “all” in many of these comments. Tow cars away from all streets, regardless of the width of the street. Treat wide streets where two-way traffic can flow easily, even with cars parked on both sides of the street, the same as narrow ones turned into one-way streets by parked cars. People, you have been watching too much “Law and Order,” and want to punish everyone no matter the circumstance. Tow away the car of an elderly person, who paid taxes for decades but who forgot to move it until the announcement of the parking ban, and then was afraid of a fall on the way to or from the car. Tow the car that the owner could not start to move it to the “correct” side of the street. Yes, I know the answer will be that the city doesn’t have time to worry about these little things. But, then again, isn’t that why we pay them for, to watch out for those who need a break. There could be a place for someone to call for a “bye” once. Then, all it takes is a radio message to the plow driver.
For the rest of us, isn’t having to shovel out a car buried in snow to its roof by a plow punishment enough without costing us money for a ticket and a tow fee that many of us could put to better use.

posted by: Radimom on February 13, 2014  10:46pm

Why not ban even side parking on even days and odd side on odd days?  THAT is easy enough to remember.  I get it about the hydrants, but one isn’t allowed to park close to them anyway.

A parking ban has to be easy enough to remember and follow.

The one-side-only streets could have those rules suspended during storms.

posted by: pd093 on February 13, 2014  11:45pm

I started with the NHPD in 1978. The City of New Haven has NEVER been able to clear the streets of snow. They do not plow to the curb and the streets get narrower. They do not remove vehicles to plow. Once the snow freezes it becomes more difficult. Remove all the cars for snow cleaning operations and PLOW TO THE CURB.

posted by: Lisa on February 14, 2014  3:00am

If therre was a parking ban put in place befor it snowed, and people complied, you wouldn’t have to worry about being plowed in.  And during street sweeping time, if you don’t move your. Car your get towed, so why should it be different during snow time?

posted by: Bradley on February 14, 2014  8:10am

Folks, where do you propose that the cars go?  Concernedcitizennewhaven is right that people should share their driveways, but in East Rock (and I believe city-wide), two-thirds of the housing is multi-family. I suspect that Pike International would not be gracious if I were to park in their lot next door(which wasn’t plowed until 9 o’clock anyways).

DavidK, I’m from Chicago and remember mayor Bilandic. The city does not do an appreciably better job clearing residential areas after major storms than New Haven (I was out there six weeks ago when the city ground to a halt after a major storm). In fact, the city is renowned for its “dibs” system, where residents shovel out the spaces in front of their homes and mark their territory with lawn chairs, etc.

posted by: Pedro Soto on February 14, 2014  10:23am

Ex-NHPD hit’s the nail squarely on the head. This is a failure of management, leadership and procedure.

The city needs to find a similarly sized city that has exemplary snow removal practices, talk to them, or bring them down to New Haven for a visit.

Secondly, the plan needs to be executed. It’s clear that there is a huge problem with management when it comes to snow removal. The fact that it’s city-wide shows that what plan there is is not being well-implemented and that there is not strong leadership from the top.

I run a 50 person manufacturing company, and part of the challenge of any enterprise that requires timeliness and implementation is to make sure that when “things go wrong,” that you actually get to the root cause of the issue and attack that as hard as you can.

The city for years has eventually just thrown up it’s hands in the air and given up in the middle of the snow season, ending up with these enormous messes.

I also guarantee you that a well-executed plan would cost less than the crisis snow removal that will have to be done on a street-by-street basis.

Is this an easy fix? Certainly not. There are likely people in positions that will need to be fired or transferred who are not holding up their end of the plan, and there may have to be a fairly significant reorganization of the public works department.

However, it is crucial that the city solve this problem. Besides making it highly unpleasant to live in this city during these times, people’s lives literally depend on this. What is the cost of a delayed ambulance, or stuck fire truck?

This is a defining point for the city. There is no way we are going to be able to be a city that has 10,000 new residents in the next 10 years, if we can’t deal with system-wide problems such as this.

posted by: poetbum on February 14, 2014  10:28am

The city of New Haven is almost 350 years old, and that is part of the reason we have lots of unusually narrow streets.  Either we buy narrower plows to clean them out, or we institute and enforce parking regimes, or we stop complaining.

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on February 14, 2014  11:28am

The volume of streets and vehicles that need to be ticketed/towed during a storm is exponentially higher than what occurs during street sweeping.
Calling for a ban sounds like a great idea. But with any government decree the issue is always ENFORCEMENT.  We already know NH residents don’t comply with basic rules e.g. Clearing one’s sidewalk after a storm. Emergency services are already stretched to capacity during storms. Do we want officers to spend that time ticketing cars? Or do we want to dispatch emergency vehicles to aid parking officers who get stuck? I agree that cars should get off the street. But in residential communities who aren’t adjacent to parking garages where do they go?

The sad reality is that New Haven is not built like Chicago. Many of our streets are incredibly narrow even without 4 inches of snow at a curb pushing cars further out.

No one has offered a SENSIBLE realistic plan for addressing this. How do we balance limited resources with practical concerns about accessibility? Staggered bans? Hiring seasonal parking enforcement officers? Buying more equipment?

posted by: robn on February 14, 2014  12:15pm

There has always been a solution but the last and current administration lacks political will to implement it.

1) be consistent (odd side ban ALWAYS, during a storm and the following day)
2) adequately notify (warn before the storm)
3) enforce the principal with symbolic towing on main arteries and some random side streets
4) reinforce the principal with a blitzkrieg of ticketing ( daily ticket any car buried in snow, a buried car indicates I attentiveness in the part of the owner and this shouldn’t be tolerated.

The ticketing will either provide a consistent revenue stream for the city to offset plowing costs, or people will learn their lesson and well have better plowed streets.

Inaction isn’t an option.

posted by: DavidK on February 14, 2014  1:42pm

Bradley, My point is not that Chicago has a better snow removal record than New Haven, it’s that we need to hold politicians accountable. Politicians run from accountability. They need to be reminded, when they fail, to keep them attentive.

posted by: Nathan on February 14, 2014  2:17pm

Bradley, “An outright parking ban will also be in effect those hours for posted snow routes; overnight parking will be available to residents in the Temple Street and Crown Street garages for three dollars per night. Free overnight parking will be available at the Granite Square garage.”

Parking is available downtown.  Perhaps the city needs to also work with CT Transit to improve bus service into the night so people can get back from the garages?

posted by: HewNaven on February 14, 2014  5:01pm

Too late. Let the season continue as is. Next year, roll out an info campaign in the Fall detailing the new policy. When next winter comes around, ticket and tow aggressively per the new policy.

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