Between last Thursday and Sunday nearly two feet of snow fell in New Britain. The City is 13.2 square miles with 622 streets, over 500 intersections and 170 miles of roads.
City officials are asking residents to be patient and responsible during snow storms.
“It is very difficult to deal with no matter how many plows there are in the street. When it snows in the day it is very frustrating. Cars without four wheel drive are very dangerous. If your car can’t handle it you should not be on the road,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “Common sense is the most important thing to have when it snows. We live in new England and it snows every winter. We have only 3 to 4 weeks left and then it is over. Nobody has tolerance for mother nature.”
Anger from residents has been directed towards the City and snow plow drivers who have been working 24-48 hours straight.
Much of that anger was voiced on Facebook during the storm. Residents on the New Britain City Journal Facebook group had many complaints.
“We all appreciate and welcome the plows when it snows, but I’m tired of having to clear my sidewalk several times every storm. Slow down, there is no reason to throw the snow twenty feet,” said Loy Melluzzo. “I feel bad for the older folks who pay to be dug out only to have to start over again every time the plows come by.”
“I just love how I clear my drive way and they come and close it up again with snow pile higher than me,” said Ray Perez. “Couldn’t they pile it some where else.”
“What’s the story with cars parked on the road during the storm? The mayor states we call it in to the police department and the police department says Public Works will call it in “if” it interferes with their plowing,” said Jennifer Guzman. “I’m not on a main road and, understandably, plows don’t come through until much later. Cars are always on the street and nothing ever happens.”
During this storm almost 700 cars received tickets and 52 cars were towed.
“We have to make sure our drivers are rested. It is more dangerous to have someone behind a large truck that has not slept in 24 hours,” said Mayor Stewart. “On the city website you can look to see your snow route is There are two trucks per snow route in town. Two truck drivers per snow route is a lot of miles each has to cover. When it snows 2 to 3 inches an hour it is impossible to keep up with the snow.”
It’s also harder to clean the streets when people don’t stay home. Cars are on streets or cars that are abandoned in the middle of a road because they got stuck slow down cleaning the streets. In fact, the City had a hard time getting to a fire because so many cars were abandoned on the street.
“People did not follow the parking ban and people did not stay home. It’s not worth it to get out that bad and put your safety at risk,” said Stewart. “If there is 2 1/2 inches of snow, there is a parking ban so move your car.”
The City is looking at being able to leave cars in the parking lot of schools for future storms.
“We didn’t blanket ticket. We had a bullhorns and announced for people to move their car before we ticket or tow,” Stewart added. “Our public works did an amazing job. They are tired and beat. There is always room for improvement. It will never be perfect. We looked at what we did and improved from the last storm.”
Stewart said she understand people go to Facebook to place grievances, but if you have a serious issue it is best to call City Hall at 860-826-3350.
The City is also working on a new system called Rastrac. It is software system in trucks to track where they are and see live where they are missing. The City has been working on it for 2 years.
“It is beneficial for us in the operations center to manage trucks and put them where they need to be by seeing it on a software system. We are working very hard on that,” said Stewart. “No force beats mother nature, but we do the best we can.”