Does Philadelphia have enough snow plows? Some who live on small streets may say “no,” but Mayor Michael Nutter, as you might expect, says “yes.”
Even though an analysis from The Atlantic Cities shows both New York City and Washington, D.C., have considerably more city plows per square mile, Mayor Nutter says Philadelphia does well with what it has.
“We have a bunch of equipment we look at the city in terms of the snow that we get, make our plans based on five-year averages, this type of storm happens once every 30 years,” he said.
That report says New York has nearly three times as many plows and Washington, which gets less snow than Philly, has nearly 40 percent more plows.
Nutter says Philadelphia put everything it had at its disposal out to clear the latest batch of snow.
“At the height of the storm the streets department had 375 pieces of equipment on the streets with 700 personnel,” Nutter said.
That total includes 104 private contractors, that use dump trucks, front-end loaders and other equipment for the smaller city streets.
But 24 hours after the storm began, the tertiary streets which make out about 20 percent of Philadelphia, had not been plowed. Streets Commissioner David Perri says they have issues with hilly neighborhoods such as Chestnut Hill and Manayunk.
Unlike PennDOT which uses special ice melters that work even when the temperature is in single digits, Perri says Philadelphia still uses regular salt.
“There’s several different products out there including calcium chloride, magnesium chloride even one that uses beet juice,” Perri said. “They are all effective in lowering the freezing point of water. Currently we do not use calcium chloride as part of our treatment operation, we use sodium chloride.”
Even once the streets are clear, parking can be a major headache in Philadelphia. The police department tweeted out a warning that when you dig out your car leave the spot clear, “just say no to Lawn Chair, orange cone, and trash can,” with the hashtag, #no savesies.
Mayor Nutter puts it this way: “Be smart, be nice and don’t be a jerk. There is no rule regulation or law that says just because you dug out a space it’s yours”
With the forecast calling for chilly temperatures for the next two weeks, drivers could be competing for those shoveled out spots for a long time.