A city hunkers down, then digs out

On February 13, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

City workers and independent contractors worked around the clock over the weekend clearing streets in Somerville. ~Photo by Bobbie Toner

City workers and independent contractors worked around the clock over the weekend clearing streets in Somerville. ~ Photo by Bobbie Toner

By Jim Clark

A massive snow storm cut a huge swath of freezing tribulation across much of the northeast last week, leaving roads blocked, schools closed, and many wondering, “When will it end?”

The City of Somerville was not spared the cold slap of the blizzard’s intensity, as more than two feet of snow fell over most of the area, making serious work for Department of Public Works employees as well as independent contractors and average citizens hoping to achieve a return to normalcy sooner than later.

Crews worked through the weekend clearing roadways and sidewalks. Local residents put their backs into the clearing process as well, shoveling out sidewalks, driveways, fire hydrants and parking spaces.

The declared snow emergency, originally scheduled to be lifted on Monday, was extended due to the massive amounts of snow that still needed to be removed from the roads and other vital spaces.

~Photo by Eric Zabriskie

~Photo by Eric Zabriskie

The storm brought the city and its environs to a virtual standstill. Vehicular traffic was halted for all but emergency usage. All modes of public transportation were shut down through the weekend. Public schools were closed and many just stayed home from work, playing it safe in the comfort of their homes.

Some made the best of a bad situation by creating a party atmosphere in the midst of a major weather event. Sledding and snow sculptures dotted frosty hillsides, and a dance party even sprang up in Union Square.

As the work in the streets made further progress early in the week, it was decided that the snow emergency would be declared over and that schools would reopen on Wednesday.

Temperatures are expected to remain above freezing over the next few days, allowing a gradually melt-off of snow. Although a light snowfall is forecast for Thursday, it looks as though the worst is over as far as snow accumulation is concerned.



4 Responses to “A city hunkers down, then digs out”

  1. Doug Holder says:

    So there I am up to neck in snow—digging away working on a heart attack. A DPW guy is looking at me and says ” Hey Doug” He remembers me from a decade ago when we both lived on Ibbetson Street…the street I started my literary magazine. Anyway the guy takes the time to help me get out and get to work. I gave the guy a copy of Ibbetson Street–we smiled and went on our way… Thumbs up for the DPW and the fine work they did and still do around this storm…

  2. Jesa Damora says:

    Yes, the DPW did and is continuing to do heroic work. Three cheers! The dance party in Union Square was just the ticket after a few hours of just trying to get out your own front door. Artisan’s Asylum organized it, as they did the pumpkin carving with chainsaws event in the Square and some other whacked fun. …The storm was an inconvenience, but also wonderful: These interferences make us all slow down and enjoy being in the moment.

  3. Couldn’t agree with the two of you more! I know it causes some backups and headaches, but clearing out the squares and main thoroughfares works very well and results in a much safer environment. Great job to all the DPW workers who helped out this past week.

  4. Not good says:

    Having lived here for over forty years I have to say that this storm was a throwback to the way the city used to service the streets back in the 70’s and 80’s. They stopped plowing about 1am on Saturday and made a subpar effort for the remainder of the storm. Most side streets were left untouched until Saturday night and many simply were not plowed at all and the only thing that kept this from turning into a complete disaster was the amazingly warm weather after the storm. My street was left unplowed until Saturday night when three undersized trucks tried to plow it (uphill I might add) and having all of them get stuck they simply stayed there until a loader showed up to get them out and left. The loader could have plowed the street easily but after freeing the trucks they all went away never to be seen again. This was surprising since this administration prides itself on being more responsive and nothing like the old Somerville. When I was a child I could sled down my street for weeks after a major snowfall. If the weather hadn’t warmed up so soon after the storm I would be sledding down it right now in my car.

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