New London met challenge

Given its limited resources, the challenge of removing snow in densely developed neighborhoods and a blizzard that dumped about 2 feet of snow in a relatively short time, New London has done about as well as can be expected when it comes to clearing streets.

This doesn't mean there were no trouble spots. Some neighborhoods and businesses faced frustrating delays in getting their streets cleared, problems made worse when more snow events followed in the days after the blizzard.

In a meeting arranged by Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, representatives of the city's public works, police and fire departments discussed Thursday the difficulties they faced and the priorities that were set in dealing with the severe weather event and subsequent snowfalls.

A high level of cooperation was apparent as the department leaders discussed the blizzard that struck Jan. 26-27. Use of the Emergency Operations Center at fire headquarters resulted in strong communication and coordination between the different city agencies.

Police worked with public works in aggressively enforcing the parking ban to enable snowplow drivers to do their jobs. Snowplows cleared paths for fire rescue vehicles. During the storm and in its aftermath, snowplow drivers and other support personnel turned in 130-hour workweeks. That translates to roughly 18-hour days.

With 63 miles of road to clear, only 15 large plows, and unusually heavy snow, crews did fall behind in some neighborhoods, but it is hard to see how that could have been avoided.

This newspaper has heard the complaints that the southern and more affluent section of the city gets quicker attention in these storms. The reality, however, is that the main streets along the shoreline are long and wide. The homes have driveways and on-street parking is not much of an issue. It is understandable why those thruways would be cleared easier and faster than narrow streets with much on-street parking.

Also questioned has been the attention given the downtown, which with the help of contractors, was fully cleared of snow after the blizzard. That area must be a priority as a potential chokepoint for vehicles moving in and out of the city. Workers had to haul out the snow. There is nowhere to pile it downtown without creating more problems.

On balance, it appears the city did an admirable job.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Pat Richardson, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, retired Day editor Lisa McGinley, Managing Editor Tim Cotter and Staff Writer Julia Bergman. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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