Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski provided the following update Monday afternoon on the city’s response to the weekend blizzard…
Our overnight crew began attacking the storm at its inception.
By 7 o’clock Saturday morning every piece of snow plowing and snow removal equipment that the city owns, and since yesterday what we have been able to utilize from private contractors, has been out plowing and removing snow.
Please keep in mind that we have more than 440 miles of roadway that consists of about 1,500 lane miles in the city and it is still going to take some time to remove 33-plus inches of snow from all those areas.
I am asking everyone to be patient. I cannot stress that enough. I understand the frustration of not being able to get out, but municipalities up and down the East Coast have been overwhelmed by this storm and Allentown is no exception.
At times during the storm, the snow came down at the rate of three inches an hour. Despite the best efforts of 45 plow operators that was simply too much to keep-up with.
Right now, we have our two blower vehicles and two contracted front end loaders working with 26 tri-axle dump trucks to remove snow from the main arteries.
We have four teams of backhoes, skid-steer vehicles and front end loaders removing snow from other clogged streets in the city.
Our remaining plows are trying to clean-up and widen areas that have remained passable.
The snow plows are now working and will continue to work through the day and through the night opening-up secondary roads and alleys.
We need people to get their cars off the street, especially in the areas posted for snow removal in Center City and into the Parking Authority Community Deck at Sixth & Walnut streets which is free. That deck can handle 800 vehicles.
Lots have been cleared and are open at Allen High School; Harrison Morton and Trexler Middle School; and Sheridan, Jackson, Ramos, Union Terrace, Central and Lehigh Parkway elementary schools. The district is also opening the Ninth Grade Center parking garage on St. Cloud Street and the main parking garage below the Allen Phys Ed Center at 18th and Turner streets.
I would ask our local businesses and churches that have cleared parking lots to consider allowing their neighbors to park their temporarily until we can get more areas open.
We have ordered that cars be towed if necessary. We have had to deal with abandoned vehicles which has also slowed our removal efforts.
Please do not throw snow into the street. I cannot stress that enough. Part of our problems are caused by people who have left huge piles of snow in the street that then require large equipment to get by.
We have requests for unmet equipment needs through Lehigh County Emergency Management that have gone into the state, but we are not alone. Other municipalities also have equipment needs.
Trash and recycling pick-up is suspended again tonight and tomorrow night.
Tonight, that affects 11th Street west to the City border and tomorrow night in the Tuesday zone it will affect South Allentown and in East Allentown, south of Hanover Avenue and east of Maxwell Street.
This will allow the Streets Department to continue to work to get the streets open without trash bags and recycling bins interfering or falling onto the streets.
We ask residents to please hold onto their trash and recycling until collections resume Wednesday evening under the regular schedule.
If any resident has placed trash or recycling bins out at the curb, please remove them from the curb until your next regularly scheduled night.
I have a couple of safety notes…
Please do not call 9-1-1 unless it is an emergency. Do not call 9-1-1 because your street has not been plowed. Contact 610-437-7669 for updates on snow plowing activity in your neighborhood.
If you have the opportunity, please make sure that your vents from your home to the outside are open. We don’t want your home filling-up with carbon monoxide.
We are asking people to please shovel out the fire hydrant near your home. In the event of a fire, the extra time spent to access that hydrant can be critical.
We are also asking people to try to open storm sewer inlets near your homes. We have 33-plus inches of snow to melt and it has to go somewhere.
Again, I am asking people to be patient. We are doing our best to recover from a record snow storm. Our crews have worked and will continue to work long hours. I understand your frustration, it is going to take time to get things back to normal.