Philly streets team tries to learn from multiple snowstorms

 (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY, file)

(Kimberly Paynter/WHYY, file)

The City of Philadelphia’s Streets Department has had a lot of practice in removing snow this year.  The department says it’s learned some valuable lessions.

Streets Commissioner David Perri says new leadership in the snow removal operation is looking to respond more flexibly to snowy conditions, and to enlist technology in the effort. “We outfitted several of our vehicles with iPads to stream real-time roadway conditions back to our headquarters so we can see the condition of our roads on a continual basis,” Perri said. Perri says the information helps supervisors adjust their plan of attack as storms rage and snow piles up. He adds the department is also considering changing the winter mix they use to rid streets of ice. “This year we also expanded our use of brining for pre-treatment,” he said. “It’s a great method of getting the streets of Philadelphia prepared.”For next season, the department is considering using calcium chloride and even a preparation made from plant matter to help when the temperature dips below 20 degrees.

Perri said another lesson learned could nail the wallets of people who fling snow wherever is handy when shoveling a car.

He said the city plans to start ticketing people who throw snow out into the streets after they have been plowed. 

But where then should you put the snow when you clean the car and the area around it?  Perri offers this answer. “You should really place the snow either in the front or the back of the car or along the curbline,” he said. “You can’t put it in a travel lane.  It’s OK to put it in a parking lane.  It’s OK to put it on the grass strip on the sidewalk, but you can’t put it in a travel lane where it will cause a safety problem.”



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