City claims snow removal success

Published: Tue, January 1, 2013 @ 12:03 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern


On Monday, a thin layer of ice and snow remained on Ridgelawn Avenue, but residents said it was better than conditions over the weekend.

“It was slow, but I’m used to it because this is not a main street,” said Kevin Dominic, referring to the city’s response to the foot of snow that fell in the last week.

He commended the city street department for clearing the main roads in his West Side neighborhood: Hazelwood, Schenley and Mahoning avenues.

“I’ve lived here for 10 years, and it’s what you expect,” Dominic said.

Nearby on South Bon Air Avenue, lifelong city resident Nick Lavolpa was shoveling a driveway for his elderly neighbors.

“I’ve been here all my life, and I think [the city] did a little bit better job” than in the past, he said.

More than a dozen city residents contacted The Vindicator through email or social media Saturday to voice concerns that residential neighborhoods weren’t yet plowed.

Sean T. McKinney, city building and grounds commissioner, said he appreciated residents’ patience as the department addressed main roads first.

“The process normally is we try to treat primary roads — Market Street, Belmont and Mahoning avenues, McGuffey and McCartney Roads, and Midlothian Boulevard and South Avenue. It takes us about a day to get those open with the snow we had,” McKinney said.

After that, the department started on the secondary neighborhood roads and then tertiary roads that are the less populated, such as the Sharon Line-area on the city’s East Side, he said.

“We try to touch every road throughout every snowfall,” McKinney added. “We may do a passing, and we may not completely clean the road or because of the snow amount, it may be packed down with snow and ice that we have to salt to break up. So it may have looked as though they were never there.”

After Wednesday’s wallop, 24 city employees worked to clear roads, working 12- to 16-hour shifts. Crews were called out again Saturday afternoon to handle additional snowfall.

Overtime is built into the department’s budget, and McKinney said he should have the overtime costs calculated by Wednesday. He added the department benefited from not spending as much last year during the mild winter.

The department also contracts with two Youngstown companies, A.P. O’Horo and Marucci & Gaffney Excavating, for graters that can dig farther down into ice than regular plows, McKinney said.

“We ask for the residents to continue to give us some time and be patient. Whenever there is a parking ban, try their best to park their vehicles in their driveways,” he said.

The city did have a parking ban last week, and those who do not adhere to future bans could be asking for trouble.

“If we have streets that are being clogged up, we have an ordinance where we can ticket the vehicle and then have it towed away. We don’t do it too often, usually on major arteries and freeways when it is necessary,” said police Chief Rod Foley.

Mayor Charles Sammarone said the street department did an “outstanding” job with the main corridors cleared by Thursday and the rest of the city by Friday before heavy snow returned Saturday.

“I remember years ago when we had 100-some employees and the answer on snow removal was to give them three days,” he said.

Contributor: Staff writer John W. Goodwin Jr.

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