Erratic street plowing sows discontent among neighbors

You could fill a book with the grievances the 2016 blizzard caused Philadelphians.

Inthe hilly Fairmount section of the city where many narrow roads were still unplowed Tuesday,acontractor said she saw a group of five men shoveling snow off their street into a trash can and then dumping it on her street.Asnowbound senior citizen said when she called 311, they told her she had to file her complaint online — even though she doesn’t have a computer. Many said thatmore than three days after 22-odd inches of snow fell on the city,their commutes and lives are stillsignificantly altered.

Officials from the mayor’s office claimed Tuesday that 80 percent of Philly’s 2,500 miles of residential streets had been plowed. Butneighbors were grumbling about who got served first, and why.

“They got 27th Street. I’m really surprised they haven’t got us,” said Mark McSloy, a 28th Street resident. “We understand you can’t get all the roads, but we need to start seeing something. … I didn’t see anything until today.”

The Streets Department did not respond to a request for comment on how they choose which roads to plow.

On Reno Street, a tiny single-block road, most residents’ cars are completely snowed in.

“It’s very bad. I can’t go out. I call many times, can’t nobody help. Why nobody help the people?” said resident Joan Gianoula, 65. “I can’t buy food, I can’t do nothing. Say I got to go to the doctor. There’s no transportation, there’s nothing!”

Reno Street resident Rita Leonard, 89, said she hadn’t left home since the weekend.

“I haven’t been out at all because I’m afraid of falling,” she said. |This is how it is every time it snows. I don’t like it, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”

ContractorSusan Birminghamsaid she couldn’t get to work due to snowy roads.

“It’s a mess,” she said.”They should get private contractors to do it if they can’t. I’d rather see my tax money go to that. Stuff like this — what are my tax dollars for?”

Amidst the inconsistent, block-by-block plowing of the neighborhood, some locals questioned whether Ogden Street got picked for plowing because it’s where City Councilman-at-Large Bill Greenlee resides, while nearby28thand Cambridge streets were untouched.

Nearby 30th Street and Myrtlewood Street did not appear to have gotten any attention either.

Greenlee said he was surprised to learn his block had been plowed Tuesday, because itwas still snowed in when he left for work that morning.

“If politically connected people got plowed first, I’m not connected,” Greenlee said. “It definitely wasn’t plowed this morning. There’s no preferential treatment here.”

Greenlee said he doesn’t know how plows are assigned to which streets. But he thinks the clean-up effort has gone well considering the historic snowfall.

“Remember, we got 22 inches, one of the biggest snowfalls in city history. … It’s triple the regular snowfall, that means triple the work,” he said. “The city can’t be everywhere first.”

Myrtlewood Street resident Billy Eisenberg said he thought the street’s small size was the reason for the delay .

“I kind of expected it be a dig out,” said Billy Eisenberg. “Philadelphia is an old city.There’s a lot of narrow streets.”

That sentiment was echoed by neighbor Elizabeth Higgins.

“It’s hard to turn a SUV down these streets even when there’s no snow. Can you imagine bringing a pick-up truck with a plow down here?” shesaid. “Everybody’s working on it. I don’t think there’s some schmuck sitting back going, ‘Ha ha ha, they’re snowed in.'”

More from our Sister Sites