Mayor Nutter tonight praised the city’s snow response, but said the city was still working to dig out residents from the latest winter blast.
“The citizens have been tremendously cooperative, understanding and appreciative that every storm is different,” Nutter said. “We’ll continue to work through the night. We are on our way, we will get to you. If your street hasn’t been done, we’re doing our best to get to you.”
Nutter acknowledged that the unexpected severity of the storm, combined with the mix of snow and icy rain had been hard to combat. In all 15 inches were dumped on the city overnight, more than double the predicted 6-8 inches. During the course of the storm, snowfall was interrupted by freezing rain, which meant that even after plows scooped up the snow, a “hard pack” of frozen snow and ice was left on the streets.
“It was unusual, we’ve attacked it very aggressively,” Nutter said.
City crews were out last night fighting the storm and will continue tonight. Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson said the city had treated – plowed and salted -- all but 100 miles of the 2,575 miles of roadway in the city. But she stressed that because of the hard pack coating on the streets, treating didn’t necessarily mean streets were cleared down to blacktop.
SEPTA’s bus lines were the hardest hit of the city’s public transit operations. Spokesman Richard Maloney said that 150 buses got stuck in snow overnight. As of tonight, 46 of the city’s 120 bus routes were still down, although rail, subway and trolley services were available, except for trolley 15.
The city is lifting the snow emergency at 7 p.m. tonight, meaning cars could again park on designated emergency routes. Discounted $5/day parking at the Philadelphia Parking Authority garages in Center City has been extended until 6 a.m. on Monday. And Thursday and Friday trash collection was delayed by a day, due to the storm.
While the city did not start ticketing people today for not shoveling their sidewalks, Nutter said that enforcement would start tomorrow.
The city has not yet put a price tag on the cost of snow removal for this winter. Digging out from the three massive blizzards that hit the city last winter cost a total of $18 million, according to the mayor’s press office. The city does not put specific funds aside in the budget for snow.