(skip this header)

Westport News

Monday, November 30, 2015

westport-news.com Businesses

« Back to Article

Slippin' and slidin' into the next snowstorm

Updated 11:56 pm, Friday, February 14, 2014


  • Charles Anderson, 31, shovels the snow from his driveway on Hospital Avenue in Danbury, Conn. while his father, Sylvester, clears off a car, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Carol Kaliff / The News-Times
    Charles Anderson, 31, shovels the snow from his driveway on Hospital Avenue in Danbury, Conn. while his father, Sylvester, clears off a car, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Carol Kaliff


Larger | Smaller
Email This
Page 1 of 1

BRIDGEPORT -- As Tears for Fears once sang: Just when you think it's all over, it's not over.

The region woke up to an icy mess Friday morning, with the all-too familiar trappings of the winter of 2013-14: school closings, delayed openings, reduced public transit service and plow trucks rumbling by.

Add in 4- to 6-foot-high piles blocking bus stops along the Greater Bridgeport Transit route and sidewalks covered with ice-covered snow leaving pedestrians a hard choice -- slipping and sliding on a sidewalk or risk getting struck by a vehicle while walking in the road.

"This is horrendous," said one passenger as he gingerly climbed down the ice-crusted top before sinking into a melting Boston Avenue snowbank to catch his bus.

"This is very dangerous," added Claudia Steadman, limping as she was forced to walk in the road on William Street because of an impassable sidewalk. "We can't walk on the sidewalk and we have to wait in the road for the bus."

Just last week Steadman said she twisted her left ankle on an ice-covered sidewalk near Bridgeport's Beecher Street. "I've been soaking it in Epsom salts."

But Steadman is not the only suffering Bridgeporter.\

Shirley Harris, carrying a box containing a new pair of Timberland boots, said she fell twice last week, hurting her knees. That happened between William Street and Boston Avenue while walking to the shopping center.

"The sidewalks are all messed up," she said. "The city's got to do a better job."

On Friday, city crews were cleaning up snow from Main Street, Madison and Park avenues by loading it onto trucks and dumping it at 90 Acres Park.

"Our public works crews were out Friday removing snow from major intersections along critical arteries ... and will work their way along Sylvan and Reservoir avenues to help improve the safe flow of traffic by increasing visibility for drivers and pedestrians," said Elaine Ficarra, a spokesman for Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. "This work will continue through the weekend as the weather dictates."

As to the plowed-in bus stops along sections of Noble, Boston and Park avenues and elsewhere in Bridgeport, Doug Holcomb, GBT's executive director, said he has "limited capability to clear all of the more than 1,000 stops in the service area."

"We have been focusing on clearing the bus terminal and the administrative and maintenance facilities to get the service going," he said. "We are working to bring in a contractor to assist with the clearing of stops along the major routes this weekend."

He said riders can report stops that need clearing by at www.gogbt.com.

Over in Ansonia, Mayor David Cassetti authorized overtime Saturday to pay Department of Public Works crews to haul away snow from Main Street.

But there's a big if to that.

The if depends on Saturday's weather, which could bring another few inches of snow to the area.

That's on top of the foot that dropped Thursday and the inch or two that followed early Friday.

All this snow is costing money.

In Stratford, Marc Dillon, executive assistant to Stratford Mayor John Harkins, said removal of Thursday and Friday's snow is nearly complete.

That's good for drivers, but for residents it means Stratford's snow removal budget "has been expended," Dillon said.

"It is fair to say that like many other towns in Connecticut, Stratford has exceeded its snow-removal budget for the current fiscal year," he said.

The melting that occurred Friday afternoon turned to ice at night -- giving much of the area the look of the Russian tundra.

Which leaves another issue -- road salt.

Like snow-removal money, road salt is disappearing.

Chris Tymniak, Ansonia's chief administrator, said his city has a pending order, but because the trucks are out plowing, "we haven't had time to catch our breath and pick it up."

Greenwich loaned Bridgeport 130 tons of its salt for use in Thursday's storm.

Finch thanked Greenwich, its First Selectman Peter Tesei and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., for their help in securing the loan.

"This has been worse than Nemo," said Trumbull First Selectman Timothy Herbst referring to the February, 2013, storm that dumped 39 inches over two days. "That was one big hit. This year, we are getting constantly pounded."

He said the big problem is trying to find a place to put the snow.

"This is crazy," said Maira Ruemmele upon hearing the latest forecast.

She, too, was walking in the road while heading home to Jane Street. She tightly held the hand of Kamora Hendrick, her 7-year-old granddaughter, while Ruemmele's own daughter, Yahira Cruz, followed up the rear. Their backs faced oncoming cars.

"I fear a car is going to hit me," said Cruz.

That's the big concern of Rock Ferrigno, chairman of Bridgeport Hospital's emergency department.

"Though the roads are plowed, the sidewalks aren't," he said.

He admonishes pedestrians from walking in the road and urges drivers to pay attention to what is on the street and not on their smart phones.

"People will be hard to see," he said.

With 33 days left until spring arrives, hardy residents are planning for the next snowfall.

Kevin Casini, of Milford, said he is considering buying a snowblower to clear his short driveway.

"You get tired of doing this after awhile,'' he said.

Another Milford resident, Ed Abbazia, offered his used snowblower for $50 on Craigslist after the last storm. It was gone Friday.