By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s streets commissioner apologized today to residents of parts of the city’s northwest region that never got plowed after this past Sunday’s snowstorm.
Eighth District councilwoman Cindy Bass, whose district covers much of the city’s northwest, says her office has gotten an earful from constituents unhappy that they never saw plows after the Sunday storm, leaving many streets still in terrible shape.
“We understand that (Streets Department) resources are taxed,” Bass said today, “but there were some areas that really seemed to be not touched at all — some areas in West Mt. Airy, some areas in Chestnut Hill.”
Bass says the lack of plowing was made worse with the ice storm, which downed trees and limbs.
“So you have a lot of back streets that are heavily traveled, you have a lot of trees down, and it makes for very treacherous driving in the area. So we can’t have that in the future,” Bass said.
In response, there was a big mea culpa from streets commissioner David Perri, who apologized to northwest Philadelphia residents.
“They received close to a foot of snow (on Sunday),” he noted, “and usually when you have a snowfall that deep, it takes us about two days to clear the residential streets. On this particular event, it was followed up with the ice storm, so we had to cut short some of our plowing operations to prepare for the ice storm.”
Then, Perri says, came more complications:
“Once the ice storm was over, routes were blocked with downed trees. And crews were redeployed to fix damaged traffic signals to get them working again. Even the rain that fell froze in with the snow that was there, making it harder to plow. So we had a lot of factors working against us.”
And Perri says city crews are still out in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy.
“We apologize that we were not able complete the initial clearing of those streets prior to (when) the ice storm came in. But we do have equipment up there today, clearing out the streets as best we can. And we’ll be working on that throughout the day,” Perri said.