Snow Removal Info from Mayor Ellen Dickson

Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson at City Hall, Feb 5
Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson at City Hall, Feb 5
To Residents from Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson:
Yesterday’s storm deposited an additional six inches of snow and ice on streets that were already packed with eight inches of snow from Monday’s storm.  The mixture of ice and snow is extremely dense, heavy, and difficult to plow from streets.

The Division of Public Works has a strategy in place to effectively clear streets before things start to freeze later this evening.  Workers are plowing from “curb to curb” to remove as much snow and slush from the roadways as possible.  This means that some snow will be pushed into driveways during plowing.  The City recognizes that this is an inconvenience for homeowners and asks for your patience.  We need to continue to clear from “curb to curb” to prevent the narrowing of roadways and the creation of potentially unsafe conditions for emergency responders, pedestrians and motorists.

Further, some contractors are creating hazards by plowing into the streets.  Please clear driveways and sidewalks onto your property and off the curbs.

DPW has a few suggestions on the best way to minimize clearing work for homeowners:
•       Please keep cars parked off-streets
•       Shovel snow to the right of your driveway so plows can move it easily
•       Considering waiting to shovel the last 5 to 10 feet of your driveway until snowfall has ceased and your street has been plowed from curb to curb
•       Do not shovel or blow snow into streets
•       Clear fire hydrants to allow for emergency access

Thank you for your attention.
John Murphy February 05, 2014 at 09:45 PM
Mayor Dickson, There is no reason for the plows to travel 40+ mph on our residential streets. Not only is this dangerous but it also results in snow being thrown onto the sidewalks that residents put time and effort into clearing for pedistrians.
Deantown February 06, 2014 at 07:03 AM
Sacre Bleu!!! Contractors and tradesmen pushing driveway snow into the street and making life miserable for anyone else on the block who hasn't hired a crew? One neighbor making another neighbor unnecessarily shovel out the end of their driveway because it's more convenient for the contractor to push it on to the street rather than on to the property? Contractors and tradesmen pushing one person's private problem into the public domain where it becomes someone else's problem i.e. his neighbors? That never happens in Summit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
Momof4 February 06, 2014 at 08:00 AM
I think in this case, it was the town plows pushing snow into the street. Weaver street is pretty much a single car width due to the snow plowed from the housing units and into the street next to the entrance to Douglas Infiniti. The already bumper to bumper traffic to and from the high school is a mess because cars cannot pass each other here.
AStar Gazer February 07, 2014 at 04:53 AM
Maybe it is time for the city to invest in a snow melt machine like used in New York City.
Cathy February 07, 2014 at 10:45 AM
Thank you Mayor Dickson. I truly appreciate the town crews attempting to plow before the big freeze. However, the snow that was pushed into the bottom of my driveway froze and now makes it difficult for me to get out. I have a really difficult driveway location on a busy crossroads and when my car gets stuck, halfway in, halfway out, other motorists are far from sympathetic. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I know it is a common problem but I had shoveled my driveway in anticipation of the big freeze and was surprised to find frozen snow where I had carefully shoveled the night before. No easy solution I know. Thanks for the communication!
Deantown February 07, 2014 at 03:10 PM
Do as I say, not as I do. Take a drive along Ridge Road and you'll see virtually all driveways on the north side -- including our mayor -- had the snow from their driveways plowed onto the south side of the street opposite. The plow blade shape is clear in the snow bank and parallel to the road. Lamentable, laughable, disconcerting? As expected.
Deborah Halpern February 07, 2014 at 04:52 PM
My street had sidewalks and driveway entrances filled in by city plows from the Wednesday, February 5 storm. Most of the neighbors on the street cleaned up around their homes after the city plows had cleared the street down to the blacktop, finishing up shortly before dark. We woke up to find frozen icy debris that cannot be removed from these areas, causing unsafe conditions for pedestrians. Neither the mayor nor the head of community services responded to the report of problems from this late night plowing and nothing is able to melt in this frigid weather. Our street is also a designated safe walking route for high school students which makes this situation even more concerning. This problem is an ongoing one and the city needs to redo the way plowing is handled in the community.
ellen dickson February 07, 2014 at 05:53 PM
I don't own my driveway and the plowing is done by a contractor hired by my neighbor. Believe me I get no special treatment!
Brian E. Gledhill February 07, 2014 at 06:18 PM
Driveways closed by plows and sidewalks closed by plows raise different issues. Not sure what to do about the former issue given the fact that driveways intersect with the streets at the same grade, but the latter issue is resolved if the plows proceed very slowly, well below the speed limit, especially where the streets are narrow. It is a training issue, and requires different plow speeds based on the street sidewalk configuration. The speed of the plow is a critical issue, but also, in certain cases, curb to curb plowing, which has the effect of closing the sidewalk, is simply unsafe from the start, without materially improving street use by vehicles. There are presently a number of streets proximate to schools (LH for example) where it is now far more dangerous for children and other pedestrians than it was before the streets were plowed, and given the nature of the ice, this situation will persist for some time. Some of these sidewalks were cleared by the homeowners, no doubt at significant personal expense, or in other cases at some health risk to the homeowners, especially elderly homeowners, only to be plowed closed, sometimes more than once.
Deborah Halpern February 07, 2014 at 06:58 PM
This additional information from Brian Gledhill about different ways to plow streets in a way that doesn't block sidewalks is very helpful, and reinforces the need for Summit plows to rethink and redo how they plow in residential areas. To Mayor Dickson: do you have any response on addressing this safely issue?
Patrick Hurley February 07, 2014 at 08:30 PM
We have had numerous conversations with city hall staff on how this could have been handled better (plow speed, driveways, sidewalks, etc.) and have highlighted areas, for safety reasons, that needed to be cleared immediately. Yes, the city could have done better but DPW was determined to completely clear the streets “curb to curb” due to the forecasted below freezing temperatures and possible significant amounts of snow this weekend. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like we’re going to get any significant snow this weekend but they didn’t know this on Wednesday. We had the same problem with our sidewalks and our driveways and didn’t like it either. The city will learn from this and do better next time. To suggest certain people received special treatment from our hard working DPW workers reflects a degree of cynicism and immaturity I had hoped we had moved beyond in our community. I’d be happy to discuss with anyone personally - Feel free to contact me at phurley@cityofsummit.org. Patrick Hurley - Member of Common Council, Chairman of Public Safety
Deantown February 08, 2014 at 10:09 AM
My remarks were misconstrued or misunderstood. No claim was ever made regarding anyone receiving special treatment. I was simply stating an obvious fact based on observation: contractors and residents are encouraged to not deposit their snow into the street and yet it is routinely breached. Snow is dumped into the street -- even on the mayor's own street -- and city plows, in shifting it somewhere else, per force, push some of it to the ends of driveways that other residents have already cleared. The additional snow in the street makes the problem better for some and worse for others, not to mention making the DPW's job more difficult still. The fact it happened even on Ridge Road might strike some as hypocritical given the mayor's own remarks this week. P.S. Is there an ordinance on the books barring such activity, or is this simply a recommendation?
Ra Ha February 09, 2014 at 09:50 AM
My neighbor's had plows do their driveway, and the snow pushed into the street ends up blocking my driveway. They should fine anyone who shovels or plows into the street. I don't mind clearing out the foot of the driveway after I am done shoveling, I expect it. But instead of a few inches, there is a few feet because my neighbor can afford to hire a plow.


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