Youngstown council pelted with calls about how city handled plowing
By David Skolnick
City council members say they’ve been pelted with calls from residents upset with how the city handled plowing during the recent snowstorm.
In particular, residents complained about the side streets being largely – or completely – ignored, they say.
“We had the crews out there, but the snow got the better of us,” said Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th. “This wasn’t our best performance.”
Councilman T.J. Rodgers, D-2nd, said he’s received numerous calls from constituents about “a lot of the side streets not being cleared. People were frustrated and justifiably so.”
Numerous streets were slushy messes while others were untouched until Wednesday, days after the snowstorm.
“The way we attacked this storm cannot be the way we attack future storms,” said Councilwoman Lauren McNally, D-5th. “I don’t think it was handled well. The crews tried hard, but what they did wasn’t good enough. I feel like something broke down in the process. I’m not sure why they didn’t get to the side streets.”
In the two years she’s been on council, McNally said she received the most telephone calls from residents about the lack of plowed streets after this storm.
The Vindicator also received numerous complaints from callers about the downtown sidewalks and the side streets, saying they were impassable long after the snow stopped falling.
“I urge the administration to review the procedures about how they plow streets,” McNally said. “We need to tackle the next snowstorm better than this one.”
Jamael Tito Brown, who experienced his first snowstorm as mayor, said the plan that was used this time was the same one that was used during the previous administration – prioritizing the main streets and then hitting the side streets. The plows just couldn’t keep up with the weather, he said.
“I’m asking if it’s a good plan,” Brown said. “I’d love to have the manpower to have 20 plows, but we can’t afford that. We need to look at how we get better. We’ll look at what works and what doesn’t. We’ll look at our maps and see how we can do better.”
The city has 13 snowplows.
Councilwoman Anita Davis, D-6th, said: “I was disappointed with how this was handled. They were on the road, but I don’t think the blades were down far enough.”
She added: “I’d like our part of Market Street to be as clear as the Boardman side. I’d like to see our side streets be as clear as Boardman. The intersections are still a major problem.”
Davis said while she was driving Wednesday she got stuck on the South Side and had to be pushed out.
“You can easily get stuck at intersections,” she said. “I hope they do a better job because this is not our last snowstorm. It’s only January.”
Ray suggested the city keep residents updated on where the plows are and what streets have been done and are about to be done.
“If we let people know that information, they’d be more understanding,” he said. “I understand people’s frustrations. If we tell people something is happening, they may not like it, but at least they’ll understand.”