Full disclosure: I grew up in Chicago, and therefore have an innate and unfortunately unpreventable sense of superiority in all things winter. I'm a perennial a-hole on the matter, and I can't help it.
But still: Is 6 inches really a snow "emergency?"
The city says yes, and has declared a snow emergency beginning at 7 p.m. tonight.
But is it really so terrible to have 6 inches of snow that schools need to be closed, press conferences held, and what seems like a not-so-small mountain of salt poured over the city, as if we were trying to make Philly into sauerkraut?
(A press release from the mayor's office said that city crews have been "applying a brine solution" to the streets since Tuesday morning.)
I mean, it's winter. It snows. It's 6 inches. Big deal, right?
Why, I remember back in Chicago ... OK. Enough.
Snowmageddon: February 10th. Today: February 18th.
The streets are finally pretty much clear. (Think the specter of the next storm helped at all?)
Perhaps everything is best gauged by the final words of the venerable Vernon Odom's previous piece on Philly's Phase 2 snow removal: $12 million. Twelve Million Dollars. That's what Philadelphia's snow removal tab for this winter is reaching. That definitely paints a picture of the sheer scope of this situation/dilemma.
Is it possible, though, that the cost could have been kept down with better prevention?
I don't know. All I know is I have no place left to shovel the snow from my sidewalk. Please make it stop.
Personally I didn't see the full scope of some of today's efforts until I saw some shots from a friend. Here are some pictures of the snow removal effort at Webster Street. I had no idea backhoes were involved in the clearing of the small streets. Makes sense though.
More pics after the jump.
|cover illustration | Thomas Pitilli|
Back in January, when City Paper published its annual writing contest issue featuring the fiction of Jessica Penzias ("Death by Oboe") and poetry of Sean Webb ("The Bridge"), we set Feb. 10 as the date for our winners reading, figuring blizzard season was over. How silly we were.
It should come as no surprise that this evening's scheduled reading with Penzias, Webb, fiction judge Elise Juska, poetry judge Thomas Devaney and CP senior editor Patrick Rapa at the Tin Angel in Old City, has been POSTPONED.
City Paper, Tin Angel and the readers are working to reschedule for an upcoming Tuesday evening, so please stay tuned here and to the event's Facebook page for updates.
Askadelphia question of the Day:
Askadelphia runs on Facebook Connect.
|photo by Patrick Rapa|
|corner of Passyunk and Fifth|
Office of the Managing Director
For Immediate Release: December 19, 2009
Winter Weather Advisory
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Mayor Michael A. Nutter reminds residents that a Snow Emergency was declared at 9:00 a.m. today, which means all vehicles parked on Snow Emergency Routes must be moved to an alternate parking location. Any vehicle remaining on a Snow Emergency Route during the declared Snow Emergency will be ticketed and towed. A list of snow emergency routes can be found at www.phila.gov/streets.
In response to this Snow Emergency, the Managing Director's Office of Emergency Management activated the City's Emergency Operations Center on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. Agencies in the Emergency Operations Center include: Philadelphia Police Department, Fire Department, Streets Department, Licenses and Inspections, Philly 3-1-1, Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Gas Works, Office of Fleet Management, Office of Support Housing, Fairmount Park Commission, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia Parking Authority, Salvation Army, and the Delaware Valley Health Council.
The Streets Department crews began applying a brine solution to area roadways yesterday. Salt crews and equipment have been deployed throughout the City to respond to the precipitation. Crews will remain on duty to monitor roadways and to respond to problem locations and emergencies.
"Streets Department crews will be out in force to remove snow in a timely manner. We remind Philadelphians that cars parked illegally and the illegal plowing of snow from private lots on to public streets will hinder our ability to clear roads, especially around some of the smaller streets in South Philadelphia," said Streets Commissioner Tolson. "We request the cooperation of residents to help us make our snow removal efforts effective."
Streets Commissioner Tolson urges residents to follow these tips:
- Clear a sidewalk path at least 30" wide within 6 hours of the end of the storm as listed in the Philadelphia Code (10-720).
- Be conscious of the environment - use de-icing salts only as much as needed. One pound of de-icer can cover 100 to 200 square feet.
- De-icer should be applied as soon as a light accumulation has developed on the surface. This will break the bond between additional accumulations and the pavement surface, and will make it easier to shovel.
- A final light application of a de-icer may be required after removal is completed to melt the residual snow.
- Make sure you park your car as far away from the corner as possible. Cars parked too close to the corner limit the turning radius of salting vehicles.
- Clear snow from neighborhood storm drains to allow melting snow to drain.
- Make sure firefighters will have easy access to fire hydrants by clearing snow around the hydrants.
- Stay tuned to local media for updates.
- To report a street in need of salting or plowing or for more information on any Streets Department program or service, call 3-1-1. You may also visit the Streets Department online at www.phila.gov/streets/SNOW.
Commissioner Tolson said, "We expect heavier than normal traffic this weekend for holiday shopping. To make our plow efforts more effective, we urge citizens not to drive but to use SEPTA as they travel about the city."
In addition, the City has a declared a Code Blue to provide additional support to the homeless. If you see a homeless person in need of assistance, please call the Homeless Outreach Coordination Center at 215-232-1984.
As the Delaware Valley prepares for a potential major snowstorm, Health Commissioner Donald F. Schwarz reminded Philadelphians to take precautionary measures to protect themselves and their neighbors from injuries and accidents common in winter weather.
Dr. Schwarz recommends:
- Eat nourishing meals. Food adds fuel the body needs to keep warm.
- Wear several loose fitting layers of clothing. Avoid tight clothing. Wool and most synthetic fabrics are warmer than cotton.
- Keep clothes dry. Change wet socks or long underwear.
- Wear a windproof outer layer of clothing.
- Wear a hat that covers the ears.
Dr. Schwarz urges the public to check in on older friends, relatives, and neighbors before and during a snowstorm, to check on the availability of heat in the home, to offer transportation, and to help with running errands such as grocery shopping.
"Shoveling snow is a high intensity exercise," Dr. Schwarz said, "so those who are not used to regular exercise should work slowly and be cautious. Avoiding alcoholic beverages during cold weather is also important. Senior citizens and others with back problems or heart conditions should refrain from physical exertion like shoveling snow, or walking long distance."
Those at higher risk for heart attacks from snow shoveling include smokers, individuals with high "bad" cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.
The health department recommends the following snow shoveling tips:
- Warm up with some stretching exercises inside.
- Start slowly and pace yourself. Shovel no more than five loads a minute; don't shovel for more than 15 minutes without taking a break. Pause to stretch every five minutes by standing up straight.
- Push the snow. Don't lift. If you must lift, use your legs not your back.
- Drink during breaks to avoid dehydration. Breathing cold dry air robs moisture from your body with every breath.
- Never throw over your shoulder. Twisting can strain the back. Face the snow being shoveled, keep your back straight and knees bent and throw in front of you.
- Dress warmly in layers with a hat. Cover your neck.
- Take smaller scoops of snow, keeping them light and small.
- Don't work up a sweat. Bodies lose heat faster in damp clothes, which makes you more prone to injury. Take a break if you're beginning to sweat.
- Don't smoke or eat a heavy meal before shoveling. It's harder on the heart.
- Don't hold your breath; this makes your heart rate and blood pressure rise. Don't feel the job has to get done in one session.
- Don't smoke or eat a heavy meal before shoveling. It's harder on the heart. Don't hold your breath; this makes your heart rate and blood pressure rise
In an emergency, call a doctor, or 911 for a medic unit, or go to an emergency room. Until medical help arrives, protect someone suffering from exposure to the cold with extra blankets and clothing.
SEPTA reports that Route 35 in Manayunk/Roxborough has been discontinued. The Streets Department is in process of salting those bus routes affected. Multiple bus routes are being detoured. All bus routes are experiencing slight delays.
For Flyers fans attending today's game, SEPTA recommends that commuters take the Broad Street Subway to City Hall and then take regional rail at Suburban Station, which is an enclosed facility where commuters can stay dry and out of the elements.
For Eagles fans, there will be a game delay. It will begin at 4:15 pm on Sunday. SEPTA, again, recommends that commuters take the Broad Street Subway to the game at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Philadephia Parking Authority has discounted parking at all center city Philadelphia Parking Authority garages at a $5.00 flat rate and a $10.00 flat rate to keep a vehicle overnight. This will be in effect Saturday and Sunday. These Philadelphia Parking Authority garages are located at Gateway Garage at 16th and Vine; Auto Park at JFK Plaza, 16th and JFK Boulevard; Auto Park at Independence Mall, 5th and Market; Auto Park at The Gallery Mall, 10th and Filbert; Auto Park at Jefferson Hospital, 10th and Ludlow.
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