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South Philadelphia Residents Distraught Over Winter Road Conditions

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you think you’re weary of snow, try living on the 100 blocks of either Sigel or McClellan Streets in South Philadelphia.

Residents there haven’t seen a plow since the winter storm on January 26.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Rita Fratto, who lives about halfway up the block on Sigel. “Somebody’s not doing their job, not paying attention to what’s getting done.”

All along both streets, sidewalks are clear and dry, but the streets are filled with eight to 10 inches of hard packed ice. And this is not the first time. After last winter’s heavy snowstorms, residents say Sigel Street was so bad an ambulance got stuck.

“I think it’s a damn disgrace,” said Cathy Snyder. “All the taxes we pay, and they can’t do these streets? I’d just like to stop paying taxes.”

The Eyewitness News Mobile Weather Lab first came across the 100 block of Sigel Street Wednesday night as residents tried to chip out a path for running water.

Louise Capotrio, who lives about halfway down Sigel Street said she’d been calling the city’s 311 help and information hotline since Monday to file complaints. She and others received promises of action within 24 hours and official sounding confirmation numbers, but nothing happened.

Capotrio tried again Wednesday morning and was told they’d see heavy equipment that afternoon.

3 On Your Side went back Thursday morning and found the streets frozen in time – still nothing had happened.

“Yes, it makes me angry,” said Capotrio. But “what can I do? I can’t fight city hall.”

Well, you can try.

3 On Your Side went to City Councilman Frank DiCicco’s office at City Hall and were told it would be handled immediately. Just hours later, around 1:30 Thursday afternoon, heavy equipment showed up.

“It’s about time, we only waited how long?” said Sigel Street homeowner Joanne Welsh. “Everybody pays taxes around here. Why should we be the last ones to wait here in South Philly?”

“Guess what? They’re doing it – and nobody famous lives up my street,” said Capotrio. “Those are the ones that get done first.”

Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson insists that is not true. She said that all small streets are treated equally. But she told 3 On Your Side the city has about 40,000 individual blocks, and crews are working as fast as they can to get to each and every one.

There are still “a couple dozen” streets with hard packed ice. By Thursday evening, crews were still working on Sigel Street, more than three hours after they began. McClellan Street had not yet been touched.

Watch the video…

Reported by Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3

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  • Sam Maffei

    You know you live on a small street. You are not a priority. The city gets to small streets last. And, with a huge snow like the last big storm, the longer it stays out there the higher the likelihood it will be ice when the city gets to it (if at all). I see it as having 2 options: Get out there and shovel it yourselves or everyone chip-in and hire a private contractor before it freezes.

    I lived in South Philly for 35+ years. This happens EVERY YEAR. You would have guessed that most of the residents would have figured it out by now.

    • Suz Moran

      Yeah that’s true Sam but you have alot of elderly people who cannot get out there and do it themselves. Also with the economy the way it is most people have lost their jobs. So how would they be able to hire a private contractor?

  • Fudge

    Stop your crying. Times are tough, the city is debt, and the last few weeks have been bad with all the snow. You want them to hire more people to shovel and plow every single little street? Get together with you neighbors and clear your own block.

  • Suz Moran

    My mom’s street in the Olney section of Philadelphia still needs the thick ice removed. I called 311 last Saturday and told them that 2 plows came down our street the night before at 6pm but was not treated with salt. We had a warm day yesterday and all the snow or ice that melted formed into bigger chunks of ice on the street and it feels like I am driving on cement boulder rocks and almost slid into other vehicles parked on the street. What do our taxes pay for or where is it being spent?? We need better results because I could be damaging underneath my car while trying to park on my block.

  • Anne Addario

    Join the rest of the city! Our streets are no better than those in South Philly, I live in Bridesburg, our street were terrible. I have never seen anything this bad before. I don’t know what the city spent so much money on because we have not gone down one street, even main roads, that were not ice and snow covered! last Saturday we were on Frankford Avenue and Harbison Avenue they had one lane and that was rutted with ice and snow. So it’s not only South Philly, we also have small streets in Bridesburg, we have gotten outside and shoveled our own!

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