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The City of Akron releases apology to folks following frustrations over snowy streets

Posted at 1:37 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 17:36:31-05

AKRON, Ohio — The City of Akron released an apology to its residents on Wednesday following their frustrations over snowy streets.

Following the weekend storm, residents shared their frustrations over un-plowed residential streets.

Akron Public Schools reported that 12 school buses were stuck in snow Wednesday morning and had to be towed, so children could get to school. News 5 crews came across several cars, trucks and SUVs stuck in snow-covered residential streets Tuesday evening, including a mail truck that had to be abandoned in an intersection on Curtis Road and a Spectrum cable van that couldn’t move.

Akron Public Schools spokesperson Mark Williamson said hundreds of students were late to class Wednesday.

“We don’t want children walking in the streets, but if we waited until all the sidewalks were cleared to have school again, we might not have school for a very long time," Williamson said said.

John Ware reverted to taking his grandson to school on his back, after his car wouldn't cut through the crud.

“Basically a piggyback ride on the way to school," Ware said. “I didn’t want my grandchild to have to walk through it, and have wet shoes, and have to go to school with wet feet, so I carried him on my back.”

RELATED: Akron residents fed up with unplowed streets three days after snowstorm

The city released the following statement:

First, an apology. We have failed to provide a timely level of service to all City streets in response to this storm, and we are sorry.

We apologize to the Akron community for the inconvenience and frustration our response has caused. The level of service we provided has fallen short of what our residents rightly expect. While we have devoted 100% of our available City resources 24/7 to plow and salt all primary, secondary and residential streets following Winter Storm Harper, the results of these efforts have been unacceptable. We appreciate the patience the Akron community has extended this week. We have heard your concerns and we will do better in the future.

Mayor Horrigan has directed the City to immediately reassess every policy, procedure, agreement and route and to make necessary changes to our approach to ensure that future snow events are addressed effectively and efficiently from day one.

What we are doing right now:

The City has deployed every single vehicle and piece of City equipment capable of removing snow and ice to work to clear City streets and plow every residential neighborhood as soon as possible. The City has deployed 7 private contractors to augment the City’s efforts and plow residential streets in tandem with our crews. They will use graders, backhoes, plow trucks and bobcats to increase our snow removal capabilities. We have established emergency mandatory overtime with the ultimate goal of opening every street in Akron before the next weather event. The County of Summit is also assisting with available truck and equipment. Public Service has called in all city workers from Sewer, Water and Public Works that are not in plow trucks to start the process of cleaning storm inlets. All together there are more than 100 vehicles currently activated within Akron to remove snow and ice from city streets.

The City will be enforcing the parking ban when necessary to clear streets. Some cars will be towed. Residents are reminded not to park on the street until the ban is lifted and all streets are clear. Due to rainfall and melting snow, there are areas of standing water. Drivers are reminded to drive slowly and cautiously in these areas.

The City has been experiencing intermittent failure of both the online 3-1-1 portal and our 3-1-1 phone line. However, every City street is on the list to be plowed, whether a 3-1-1 request is received or not. Streets are prioritized based on traffic patterns, and all streets will be plowed as soon as possible.

What is coming next:

Winter Strom [sic] Indra and freezing temperatures are on the way. Icy streets are expected in the coming days. Residents are urged to prepare accordingly. The parking ban on primary streets will likely remain in place until the accumulation from Winter Storm Indra has been cleared. The City’s all-hands-on-deck approach, including the use of private contractors will continue through the next storm event.

The city has also caught flak on social media after a city employee was caught on camera spreading salt on a snowy city street with a single cup. The city has since issued a statement defending the employee's actions.