Rocky Fork Enterprise

Snow emergencies

Mayor: City needs residents to move cars, shovel sidewalks

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City officials considering ideas to address the aftermath of large snowfalls when it comes to clearing sidewalks and moving vehicles so plows are able to clear streets.

During the Feb. 10 council committee meeting, Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said some warnings were issued to residents who didn't move vehicles so plows could clear streets following the storm that dumped about 10 inches of snow.

"Some people don't have anywhere else to park," she said. "It would be nice if people could move their cars after a snowstorm. We also have a poor compliance (with sidewalks). We went door to door on Granville (Street), trying to get people to clear sidewalks. A lot of places the sidewalks are close to the road. I understand it's a real challenge."

Gahanna police fielded numerous reports about people walking in roadways because sidewalks weren't shoveled.

Stinchcomb said many students weren't able to use sidewalks because of the snow.

"We've had senior citizens with walkers who literally can't get to where they need to go," she said.

Council member Brian Larick asked how the city handled residents who hadn't moved vehicles. He said several people didn't move cars on his street.

Service director Dottie Franey said the worst-case scenario is when cars are parked on the street across from each other, leaving no room for plows to pass.

"We had a driver who got down a street and cars were across from each other," she said. "He honked his horn until someone moved a car. He had no option. That's the worst, if cars are across from each other."

Stinchcomb said warnings were given, but the legal way to get cars off the streets is to declare a snow emergency.

"Then you have to ticket," she said. "The question is how to do the notification."

Council member Jamie Leeseberg suggested a process that would involve phases, allowing residents another place to park. He asked if residents have been understanding about snow removal and the city suspending salt applications on flat residential streets because of a salt shortage.

"This was a huge amount of snow we got," he said.

Franey said she asked residents during a recent neighborhood meeting how they were doing with less salt.

"They acted like no problem at all," she said. "It's something we might use as a cost saver."

Franey said the city still is struggling to get deliveries of salt, but it has enough to treat the main roads.

Stinchcomb said the city has received a lot of compliments about service during the inclement weather, but complaints have come, too.

She said some complaints were from residents who had cleared driveways only to have plows push snow back into them.

Franey said she's proud of everyone who has helped with clearing city streets.

"They've done an excellent job," she said. "The snow was heavy. It was a tough one."

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