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6th Ward Alderman Calls for Better Snow Removal by the City of Chicago

Lee Edwards | 1/15/2014, 2:40 p.m.
Sixth Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer publicly voiced his concern about the lack of snow removal on the side streets within ...
Roderick Sawyer: “I was getting a lot of calls for requests about getting the streets cleared out and people were frustrated and upset for reasons why streets weren’t clear.” - Roderick Sawyer, Alderman, 6th Ward

Sixth Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer publicly voiced his concern about the lack of snow removal on the side streets within his ward in a recent press release.

Sawyer, stated in the release, “The accumulation of slush on our side streets is not only dangerous for my residents, but this slush is pulled out on the arterial streets which make conditions unsafe for all travelers.”

In a conversation with the Chicago Citizen Newspaper, Sawyer expounded on why he issued his concerns publicly.

“I was getting a lot of calls for requests about getting the streets cleared out and people were frustrated and upset for reasons why streets weren’t clear,” said Sawyer. “My primary position here is to advocate for my constituents. They were upset and I understand why.”

Sawyer also said that he felt it was essential it for him and his fellow aldermen to always have up-to-date information from the City of Chicago's various departments about issues that affected their constituents.

In response to Sawyer’s concerns, Chicago's Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams, called Ald. Sawyer to address his grievances and to reassure him that the matter was being resolved. Sawyer noted that the conversation was “good”.

The Chicago Citizen Newspaper recently inquired about the overall snow removal process within the City of Chicago.

“Trucks have been plowing and heavily spreading salt on the residential streets since [Sunday, Jan. 5],” said Molly Poppe, Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Streets and Sanitation. “We have more than 100,000 tons of salt, and our supply is being replenished daily. We have multiple vendors and will have enough salt for the winter season. Drivers are focused on plowing the streets and are salting as needed. As temperatures continue to rise today, the salt is becoming more effective on street surfaces, and we are allowing the salt that is already on the street the opportunity to work. We again have 200 plows out today plowing and applying a light salt spread to side and residential streets.”

The Department of Streets and Sanitation released a separate statement that addressed the snow removal.

“Snow removal vehicles have been plowing and salting residential streets since Sunday. Frozen snow that remains on the street is softening as temperatures rise to around 40 degrees and salt is working more effectively, which is enabling plows to more easily remove any remaining snow from the streets.  Drivers are focused on removing the remaining snow from the side streets and pushing snow back from the curbs and sewer catch basins.”

Chicago residential and business owners are responsible for shoveling the snow in front of and surrounding their property. According to Chicago Municipal Code 4-4-310 and 10-8-180, property owners are mandated by law to clear an area of five feet of snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of their property.

To assist Chicago residents with shoveling snow, the City of Chicago has coordinated a new program, Chicago Snow Corps, which provides residents in need of snow removal with volunteers.

For those who require snow removal call 311. For more information visit http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/supp_info/sidewalk_snow_removal.html and http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/streets.html.