A few inches of snow didn’t stop people from being out and about enjoying the sights of the holiday season Saturday.
The first snowstorm of the season hit the Elm City hard enough to necessitate a parking ban for Saturday night and street plowing throughout the day but not hard enough to stop people from shopping and taking in some singing and ice carving. (Click here for details on the ban.)
New Haven Emergency Operations Deputy Director Rick Fontana said the city’s public safety officials, mayor and alders started the day with a morning conference call to make sure that everyone was “on the same page.”
“We wanted to make sure that we had enough resources on the road for a December storm,” he said. “We’ve got about 50 personnel on the roadways and sidewalks.”
Fontana said that the Department of Public Works pretreated the tops of hills, intersections, and overpasses on Friday ahead of the storm which was expected to drop up to six inches. And before the storm started the streets were streaked white with the familiar cast of the salty brine mixture that is used to help keep the roads ice-free at just above freezing. He said the city also has on hand a stronger solution that can melt ice when the temperatures fall below freezing.
By Saturday afternoon, the projection for snow had been revised down to about four inches but plows and trucks of sand could be seen crisscrossing the city as the slushy wet snow fell rapidly. But people out and about in the Broadway district seemed unbothered by the fast falling snow as they watched professional ice carvers transform huge blocks of ice into works of art, or just stood watching the oldest collegiate a cappella group sing.
Mayoral spokesman Laurence Grotheer said though the forecast changed, the city’s plan for response plan was essentially the same because it is “easier to scale back than ramp up.”
Public works had 28 city trucks out working to maintain city streets, according to Grotheer. There also were eight trucks being operated by private contractors. The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Trees had 14 vehicles working to help maintain walkways like those across the New Haven Green but also clearing out bus stops, the city’s libraries, and fire stations. A tree crew also was on duty to deal with any fallen limbs that might block city streets he, said.
Both Fontana and Grotheer cautioned people to be mindful of the citywide parking ban that is scheduled to go into effect at 11 p.m. Saturday. In residential areas parking is only allowed on the even side of the street. No parking is allowed downtown, along posted snow emergency routes, or within 25 feet of any intersection, bus stop, or fire hydrant.
Grotheer said school parking lots are open for parking but all vehicles must be removed by 9 a.m. Sunday morning so that schools can remove any snow before school starts Monday. The parking ban officially lifts at 7 a.m. Sunday.
Residents are encouraged to call the snow line 203-946-SNOW (7669) to report any problems, or to report them to SeeClickFix.