New Haven hopes new equipment, procedures make a difference this winter

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NEW HAVEN -- Snow covering the ground in New Haven is something the City hopes is just a memory, but knowing that we won’t go all winter unscathed, it’s ready when those flakes start falling.

“We’re ready for this.  This is what we practice for,” said Rick Fontana with New Haven Emergency Management.

Practice they have, with all hands on deck for a training exercise in the Emergency Operations Center.  They looked at the problems from last year and how to solve them this year.

“We ran into some issues with getting intersections cleared out, having people do their sidewalks and just getting some of the more narrow streets clear,” said Fontana.

To fix that, the Parks Department got eight new trucks to tackle the narrow streets and sidewalks.  It also started a pilot program this year with blue lights placed at 20 major intersections.

“These new blue lights are going to have a sign that you need to call 946-SNOW (7669) so that says there is a snow emergency in place, no parking on the odd side of the streets, no parking on posted snow emergency routes, that’s this year,” said Fontana.

The City says communication is key to efficient snow clearing.  A place for people to park their cars off city roads is also important.

“We’ve worked out with New Haven Public Schools and we will be using their parking lots so that people can get off the streets, so we can actually clean the streets,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.

As for the fact that New Haven hasn’t had to do a lot of snow clearing this winter, Mayor Toni Harp says the City is lucky.  It’s saving money from materials like sand and salt that haven’t been used.

“We’ve already purchased of that, but we haven’t had to pay for overtime and those kinds of expenses that you often don’t think about, so we saved some money there,” said Mayor Harp.