NEWARK, NJ – With record snowfalls in the three states in the past two weeks, plowing main and back roads has been a significant endeavor for the city of Newark. Another storm is expected this weekend.
In a virtual Q&A on Wednesday night, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka responded to a series of complaints from residents regarding unploughed roads after a nor’easter beat the town last Monday. Followed by several days of additional snowfall, the situation only worsened when the mayor said officials need to plan better ahead of the upcoming weather.
“It’s harder to get down side streets – sometimes vendors don’t go into these streets because their trucks are too big – we need to plan better to get to these side and tertiary streets, especially when it is snowing heavily and [then] It’s becoming more of a snow removal operation than a plowing operation, ”Baraka said.
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“We wrap people up [to the streets]and we have to find out. We have to tow cars. We didn’t want to do that during COVID, but for future purposes we have to do it because trucks can’t come down [streets] – Cars get stuck – and then we haul cars. “
The 2021 storms have so far shed more than 20 inches of snow, resulting in treacherous road conditions, with the city having to advise people to stay away from the roads except for emergencies. Local authorities have already reported nearly 80 motor vehicle accidents, at least one car fire, and helped more than 60 residents with more than 100 trucks plowing the streets.
With more snow expected to fall on Sunday, the mayor stressed the importance of communicating with various plow operators and sellers to direct them to areas in need of service.
“I think we need to communicate better with the people on the street,” he said. “There are a lot of trucks and vendors driving in different places and shoveling in different parts of town that they don’t even know. We need to communicate better with them to tell them exactly what we need, what we want, and what to do because they are being paid. ”
“On our side, it’s our job to manage this and make sure they know what they’re doing,” he added.
Although Baraka said city officials are responsible for managing snow removal and plowing, he noted that residents are also partially responsible for opening the roads. The mayor stressed that if the city falls behind in plowing, a snow removal process will begin, which will prolong the dangerous road conditions.
“You should make sure that the roads are passable,” said the mayor. “None of the big cities do any major snow removal … To pick up snow, put it in a truck and drive it away – a lot of cities don’t. Newark does it and people get used to us doing it so they expect us to do it. ”
Although the city’s public works department has received particular criticism from several residents in recent weeks, Baraka pointed out that the department is only responsible for the streets.
“The DPW is not responsible for clearing the snow and shoveling snow on sidewalks,” he said. “They are only responsible for making the roads passable, and we can only ensure that the roads are passable if we stay away from them.”
Newark officials are urging residents to comply with city regulations not to park on snow-covered streets due to the expected snowfall. Signs have been posted on streets across the city to inform motorists of the streets that will not be able to park in snowstorms.
City officials also asked residents who may not see progress with snow removal in their area to contact the community by email at [email protected] or by calling 973-733-5999.
Call the Newark Department of Public Safety at 973-733-6000 if you are not having a weather-related issue. Officials also asked if people know or see a person in need of protection so call 908-868-1539.
Click here for a list of Newarker Streets Designated No Parking. Click here for a list of roads to avoid due to flooding. This link can be found on the Department of Public Safety’s website: www.newarkpdonline.org.