Philly tweaks its snow plan but can’t promise big changes

    The first major snowstorm has yet to arrive in Philadelphia, but preparations have been underway since August to make your winter drive easier.


    The forecasters are not predicting the heavy snow’s of last winter, but Philadelphia has to prepare for the worst. Stretches of Bustleton and Germantown Avenues are now on the list of snow emergency routes where parking is banned once the flakes fly.The city’s Office of Emergency Management activates when there is a significant snowfall.  Deputy Managing Director Liam O’Keefe says last year more businesses pitched in when the big storms hit.”They became more proactive in planning for those incidents and recognizing that the onus was on them to be responsible for plowing their sidewalks and their driveways and for developing contingency plans so their operations could sustain themselves without having to rely on the city,” said O’Keeefe.The question on the minds of many is will smaller streets be plowed? Commissioner Tolson says that’s complicated.”There are over 66,000 snowfall types, different types of snowstorms, and what we have to do is to assess them at that time to determine how we would respond and what goes into play is temperatures prior to a storm, temperatures after a storm, whether the rain will come in to play at some point or another,” said Tolson.Mayor Michael Nutter puts it this way:”One of the great things about our city is that it’s a great old city with old infrastructure and old streets,” said Nutter.  “One of the challenges in the winter is that we have a great old city with a lot of great old small narrow streets.”Philadelphia streets will not be cleared much differently than last winter, but Tolson says a new law requires property owners to shovel more.”Sidewalks need to be cleared of a swath 36 inches wide,” she said.

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