Akron Says It's Sorry For The Poor Snow Removal

(Akron) - The city of Akron has done something that's very rare.  They admitted they handled the clearing of snow from city streets after Saturday's snowstorm very poorly, and they put out a written statement saying that they are sorry.

The city of Akron says it put out its entire fleet of plows after the snowstorm hit, but planning and coordination as to where they should go left something to be desired.  As a result, Mayor Dan Horrigan has directed the city to reassess every one of the policies and routes for snowplowing to make sure nothing like this happens again.

The problem was compounded on Wednesday when 14 Akron City Schools buses got stuck in the snow as they were picking up children for the first day back to school since the storm hit.   School district officials had to call out tow trucks to get all the buses back on route.  In one case, a school bus slid into a tree, and part of the tree fell on the bus.

Below is the city of Akron's full statement about the snow, issued by the city's press secretary:

City of Akron Issues Apology and Update on Snow and Ice Efforts

 Akron, Ohio, January 23, 2019.

First, an apology. We have failed to provide a timely level of service to all City streets in response to this storm, and we are sorry. 

 We apologize to the Akron community for the inconvenience and frustration our response has caused. The level of service we provided has fallen short of what our residents rightly expect. While we have devoted 100% of our available City resources 24/7 to plow and salt all primary, secondary and residential streets following Winter Storm Harper, the results of these efforts have been unacceptable. We appreciate the patience the Akron community has extended this week. We have heard your concerns and we will do better in the future. 

 Mayor Horrigan has directed the City to immediately reassess every policy, procedure, agreement and route and to make necessary changes to our approach to ensure that future snow events are addressed effectively and efficiently from day one.

What we are doing right now:

 The City has deployed every single vehicle and piece of City equipment capable of removing snow and ice to work to clear City streets and plow every residential neighborhood as soon as possible. The City has deployed 7 private contractors to augment the City’s efforts and plow residential streets in tandem with our crews. They will use graders, backhoes, plow trucks and bobcats to increase our snow removal capabilities. We have established emergency mandatory overtime with the ultimate goal of opening every street in Akron before the next weather event. The County of Summit is also assisting with available truck and equipment. Public Service has called in all city workers from Sewer, Water and Public Works that are not in plow trucks to start the process of cleaning storm inlets. All together there are more than 100 vehicles currently activated within Akron to remove snow and ice from city streets.

The City will be enforcing the parking ban when necessary to clear streets. Some cars will be towed. Residents are reminded not to park on the street until the ban is lifted and all streets are clear. Due to rainfall and melting snow, there are areas of standing water. Drivers are reminded to drive slowly and cautiously in these areas.

The City has been experiencing intermittent failure of both the online 3-1-1 portal and our 3-1-1 phone line. However, every City street is on the list to be plowed, whether a 3-1-1 request is received or not. Streets are prioritized based on traffic patterns, and all streets will be plowed as soon as possible.

What is coming next:

Winter Strom Indra and freezing temperatures are on the way. Icy streets are expected in the coming days. Residents are urged to prepare accordingly. The parking ban on primary streets will likely remain in place until the accumulation from Winter Storm Indra has been cleared. The City’s all-hands-on-deck approach, including the use of private contractors will continue through the next storm event.


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