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Northampton crews plow ahead with snow removal

  • <br/>Snow banks in the middle of Main street Northampton.<br/><br/>


    Snow banks in the middle of Main street Northampton.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Snow banks in the middle of Main street Northampton.<br/><br/><br/>

    Snow banks in the middle of Main street Northampton.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • 41 Alamo Court in Northampton where the plows had plowed the snow from the court creating a high wall of snow covering their driveway.

    41 Alamo Court in Northampton where the plows had plowed the snow from the court creating a high wall of snow covering their driveway. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sarah King and her daughter Wrenna King, 7 months, who live on Williams street talk about snow removal Wednesday. <br/><br/>

    Sarah King and her daughter Wrenna King, 7 months, who live on Williams street talk about snow removal Wednesday.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/>


    Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/><br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/>



    Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/><br/><br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/><br/>




    Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton.



    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/>


    Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton.


    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/><br/>


    Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton.



    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Elizabeth Meyersohn, who lives on Williams street in Northampton talks about the snow removal on her street and surrounding streets Wednesday.<br/>


    Elizabeth Meyersohn, who lives on Williams street in Northampton talks about the snow removal on her street and surrounding streets Wednesday.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Snow banks in the middle of Main street Northampton.<br/><br/>

    Snow banks in the middle of Main street Northampton.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Snow banks in the middle of Main street Northampton.<br/><br/>
  • Snow banks in the middle of Main street Northampton.<br/><br/><br/>
  • 41 Alamo Court in Northampton where the plows had plowed the snow from the court creating a high wall of snow covering their driveway.
  • Sarah King and her daughter Wrenna King, 7 months, who live on Williams street talk about snow removal Wednesday. <br/><br/>
  • <br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/>
  • <br/><br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/>
  • <br/><br/><br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/><br/>
  • <br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/>
  • <br/>Dump trucks bring snow in from around the city while a front  loader pushes it into high snow banks at Maines field in Northampton. <br/><br/><br/><br/>
  • <br/>Elizabeth Meyersohn, who lives on Williams street in Northampton talks about the snow removal on her street and surrounding streets Wednesday.<br/>
  • Snow banks in the middle of Main street Northampton.<br/><br/>

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of (snow) picking to do,” said Department of Public Works Director Ned Huntley. “It’s just really slow going ... this was heavy snow to move and there was 2 feet of it.”

Richard Parasiliti Jr., superintendent of the streets division, said equipment failure is also exacerbating the problem. He said at least seven pieces of equipment are out of commission, including a loader, a sander, several plows and other smaller items. The department also can’t use one of its two big snowblowers because it only attaches to the loader that isn’t running.

It’s been five days since the last snowflake fell, but DPW crews have been working extended hours to clear city streets. It’s work that will likely spill into next week, especially on side streets where travel is most difficult, Parasiliti said. Though passable, many side streets remain one-way adventures for drivers who have to wait their turn, maneuvers that have led to major traffic backups in the city over the last few days.

“There’s just so much of it everywhere that people are having a hard time getting around,” said Parasiliti, who called the snow volume “mind-boggling.” “We will get the snow removed, and if we don’t do it, hopefully Mother Nature will take care of it.”

Many intersections and driveways pose hazards for drivers who can’t see as they pull in and out of intersections.

“I’m surprised there haven’t been more accidents given that visibility is so bad,” said Ward 3 City Councilor Owen Freeman-Daniels.

In addition to removing snow, DPW crews are clearing intersections with limited visibility.

Mayor David J. Narkewicz said his office is receiving calls from residents frustrated with the snow situation in their neighborhoods. He noted that DPW crews are working long hours to clear streets as fast as possible, and asked for patience and support from city residents.

“We are putting all of the resources and people power that we have into snow removal, but there are limits to what we can do,” said Narkewicz. He said he often reminds residents that bad weather is par for the course in New England.

Many residents, while frustrated, understand that cleanup issues are unavoidable with a storm as strong as Friday’s.

“This is way out of the ordinary, so pros and cons, you can throw all that out the window,” said Steve Calcagnino, 65, who lives on Columbus Avenue.

Many of Calcagnino’s neighbors said they haven’t seen it this bad in the last half-century.

“On top of everything else, people need to understand that there has to be a level of understanding and patience,” Calcagnino said. “Everyone has to pitch in.”

Justin Dumas, 34, of Holyoke, agreed.

“Where are you going to put all this snow?” he said. “I mean, it’s partly the DPW’s fault, but you just have to be more careful when driving, more cautious.”

City Council President William H. Dwight said that while frustrations are understandably high, he believes the DPW has done a good job dealing with an emergency situation.

“Driving around the city, I’m actually pretty impressed,” he said. “But frustration is as predictable as the fact that we’ll have snowstorms in New England.”

He said most residents who have taken to Facebook and email to alert him of their snow situation understand that snow clearing won’t happen overnight.

“They’re just trying to make sure they aren’t forgotten,” Dwight said.

The Smolenski family made sure they weren’t forgotten. Ella Smolenski, who lives at the end of Alamo Court in Florence, complained to the DPW after a driver pushed all of the snow from her street in front of her house.

“We had a big avalanche at the end of our driveway,” she said. “We can’t handle all of the snow from the court.”

She said she contacted City Hall about the problem, and the situation was rectified. She said she also received an apology from the plow driver who put the snow there in the first place.

Huntley and Parasiliti said they are appreciative that most residents have been both helpful and understanding.

“I think overall the residents understand, with a storm of this magnitude,” Huntley said.

Many residents said the road conditions were OK given the situation.

Sarah King, 32, who lives on Williams Street in Northampton, said she hasn’t had any problems driving.

“So I feel like it can’t be that bad,” King said. “I know the light where Hawley meets Main was pretty deep slushy, messy for a day but it’s totally fine now.”

Other residents, however, have a different take. Elizabeth Meyersohn also lives on Williams Street, which she feels — along with Hawley Street — is often among the worst plowed streets.

“The road was plowed really quickly, but then it wasn’t re-plowed when there was a lot of melting, so there’s been a huge amount of snow on the streets because of these huge snow banks,” she said.

As expected with a storm of this size, the city’s snow and ice budget has been wiped out, Huntley said.

Narkewicz expects to ask the City Council next week for permission to spend more than the $426,350 budgeted, a concept known as deficit spending.

Related

Downtown Northampton clearing schedule

Monday, February 18, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — Department of Public Works crews expect to spend the next several nights removing snow from the downtown business district, including the massive mounds dividing Main Street. The city imposed a parking ban on select streets in and near downtown late Tuesday and early Wednesday for snow removal efforts and crews were able to finish more than four streets … 0

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