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Despite Far Less Snow, Worcester Tickets and Tows at a Much Higher Rate This Winter

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

 

This winter is far more milder than last winter, but the city of Worcester is issuing tickets and towing at a much higher level according to data GoLocalWorcester secured through a access to public record request.

Worcester has towed vehicles at three times the rate of last winter. This winter thru February 10th, Worcester has handed out over 40 tickets an hour per hour of parking ban. Last winter, the city gave out just over 11 tickets an hour.

While the Winter of 2014-15 Worcester saw record number of big storms and the city led the country in total snow fall. This winter has been the winter of tickets and towing. Despite only 53 hours of parking bans versus 300 last winter, Worcester has towed 23 vehicles an hour while the winter of 2014-15, the rate was just 8 per hour.

The Numbers for the Winter of 2014-15

During the record winter snow fall in the winter of 2014-15, Worcester issued 3,369 tickets, made 2,517 storm related tows during the more than 300 hours of parking bans. Worcester recorded snowfall of 98.1 inches  during more than a dozen storms. The winter of 2014-15 was one of the most epic winters and with storm after storm, the inability to remove snow made travel, traffic and parking a challenge.

 

This the Winter of 2015-16 -- the winter of Towing and Tickets

This winter, Worcester has already towed 1,258 vehicles and issued 2,147 tickets during just 53 hours of parking bans (thru February 10).  

As GoLocalWorcester has reported this winter, the City’s response has been frustrating for many in the city. “I think people are frustrated. Who's accountable? When you have the Commissioner of Public Works who lives in Sturbridge, and the assistant who's somewhere else, who's the boots on the pavement?” said John Giangregorio, a leading business leader and former head of the Canal District.

The first storm, the City of Worcester did not treat the streets and many hills creating a traffic nightmare and dozens of accidents. City Manager Ed Augustus was forced to issue Worcester residents an apology. “We made a judgment call that unfortunately turned out to be the wrong one. As a result, many of the City's streets were not in the condition our taxpayers have the right to expect,” said Augustus in his apology issued on December 31st.

Then, Worcester issued a parking ban at 11:30 pm after most city residents had gone to bed. The city then ticketed hundreds of cars and an undisclosed number were towed.

Within days Augustus had to issue yet another apology: “In an effort to thoroughly clear the city’s streets during Sunday’s snowstorm, a parking ban was declared at 11:30 pm Sunday. Because it did not become apparent that plowing would be necessary until late Sunday, the timing of the declaration did not allow residents ample time to move their vehicles or the City the time required to communicate this overnight through all media and social media outlets. Therefore, general forgiveness is being granted for all tickets issued in relation to the parking ban declared between January 17th and 18th. People who received tickets may simply ignore them.”

 

Related Slideshow: 10 Things You Need to Know Before the Next Blizzard - 2016

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Is Your Car Ready

Is your car ready for the Blizzard?

Assemble a Winter Emergency Car Kit Checklist  (see below)
Keep your gas tank at least half-full to prevent your fuel line from freezing.
Install good winter tires with adequate tread and pressure.
Check your antifreeze, battery, defroster, windshield wipers, wiper fluid, and other vehicle equipment to make sure they are ready for winter driving.

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Auto Checklist

Assemble a Winter Emergency Car Kit Checklist   

Your winter emergency car kit should include: 

Flashlight with extra batteries

Charged cellphone and automobile charger

Basic first aid kit 

Necessary medications 

Pocket knife 

Blankets or sleeping bags 

Extra clothes (including rain gear, boots, mittens, socks) 

High-calorie non-perishable foods (dried fruits, nuts, canned food) 

Manual can opener  

Container of water 

Windshield scraper and brush 

Fire extinguisher 

Shovel  Sand, road salt, or cat litter for traction

Tire chains or traction mats 

Basic tool kit (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)

Tow rope 

Battery jumper cables 

Road flares/reflectors 

Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag 

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Power Outage

Track Power Outage and Response Times

See real-time power outages and response times

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Fall through the ice

Do not go out onto the ice to try to rescue a person or pet.

Reach-Throw-Go:

Try to reach the victim from shore. Extend your reach with a branch, oar, pole, or ladder to try to pull the victim to safety.
If unable to reach the victim, throw them something to hold onto (such as a rope, jumper cables, tree branch, or life preserver).
Go for help or call 911 immediately.

If you fall in, use cold water safety practices:

Try not to panic.
Turn toward the direction you came from and place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, moving forward by kicking your feet.
Once back onto unbroken ice, remain lying down and roll away from the hole.
Crawl back toward land, keeping your weight evenly distributed.

If you can’t get back on the ice, use the Heat Escape Lessening Position (HELP):

Bring your knees up toward your chest.
Cross your arms and hold them close to your body.
Keep your legs together.
Try to keep your head out of the water.
Do not try to swim unless a boat, floating object, or shore is close by. Swimming in cold water cools your body and reduces survival time.

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Pets indoor

If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pets. Don’t keep your pets outdoors for long periods of time during very cold weather. Short-coated dogs may need a coat or sweater during walks

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If outdoors

If you have outdoor dogs, make sure they have a dry, draft-free doghouse that:

Is large enough for pets to sit and lie down in, but small enough to retain their body heat.
Has a floor that is elevated a few inches off the ground and is covered with cedar shavings or straw.
Has an entrance that faces away from heavy winds and is covered with a flap of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.

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Salt and feet

Salt and other chemicals used to melt ice and snow can harm your pet’s feet.

Gently rub the bottom of your pet’s paws with a damp towel to remove these irritants after a walk, or buy dog boots to prevent paw irritation during winter weather.

You should also look for signs that your pet’s feet are uncomfortably cold, which could include them frequently lifting up their paws, whining, or stopping.

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Roof Snow

Do's

Use a snow rake (available at most hardware stores) to remove snow from pitched roofs.
Start from the edge and work your way up the roof.
Try to shave the snow down to 2 or 3 inches on the roof instead of scraping the roof clean, which will risk damage to your shingles or other roof covering.
Keep all ladders, shovels, and roof rakes away from utility wires.
Plastic shovels are usually best. Metal tools may cause damage to your roof.
Shovel snow from flat roofs by throwing the snow over the side away from the building.
Carefully remove large icicles if they're hanging over doorways and walkways.
Wear protective headgear and goggles when performing any of these tasks.
Have someone outside with you to assist.
Keep gutters and drains clean and free of ice, snow, and other debris, and keep downspouts clean at ground level.

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Roof snow

Don'ts

Don’t stand on or place heavy equipment on the roof unless approved by a registered professional engineer.
Don’t use a ladder, since ice tends to build up on both the rungs of the ladder and the soles of your boots. If using a ladder, be extra cautious during cold and icy weather.
Don’t use blow torches, open flames, or electric heating devices like hair dryers or heat guns to remove snow and ice.
Don’t try to remove ice or icicles from utility wires or meters. Call your utility company for assistance.

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Extreme Cold Home

Don’t stand on or place heavy equipment on the roof unless approved by a registered professional engineer.
Don’t use a ladder, since ice tends to build up on both the rungs of the ladder and the soles of your boots. If using a ladder, be extra cautious during cold and icy weather.
Don’t use blow torches, open flames, or electric heating devices like hair dryers or heat guns to remove snow and ice.
Don’t try to remove ice or icicles from utility wires or meters. Call your utility company for assistance.

 
 

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