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Salem has successful snow emergency, little trouble during Nemo

Posted by Terri Ogan  February 12, 2013 02:24 PM

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Winter storm Nemo hit the region with a bang, dumping over two feet of snow on the North Shore and parts of Boston.

Although the city of Salem is working hard to clear the streets and sidewalks, and a modified parking ban is still in effect, the city had a successful snow emergency, with a substantially fewer number of cars getting towed than in the past.

Salem police said that the city towed only 27 cars. During previous snow emergencies at least 100 cars were towed.

“This snow emergency went very well,” said Lt. Bobby Preczewski, a Salem traffic officer. “The residents finally have it and know when they have to get their cars off the street.”

Preczewski added that the police department had four extra traffic officers, four extra general officers and one supervisor on duty during the storm on Friday. All of the additional police personnel went home at 8 p.m., which is early according to Preczewski, who added that the snow emergency was pretty uneventful.

Although few cars were towed, winter storm Nemo gave a Department of Public Works (DPW) plow truck some trouble on Scenic Terrace Friday night.

Salem Police said around10:32 p.m. Friday, as the storm was raging, a DPW truck caught on fire, destroying the entire vehicle.

“The fire started under the hood and spread,” said Salem police spokesman Lt. Conrad Prosniewski. “It must’ve been an electrical problem is my guess. Luckily nobody was injured.”

Prosniewski added that the Salem police received the usual calls about neighbor disputes over snow, complaints about the way plows were plowing and the city also had a few power outages in the neighborhood.

As for the current parking situation, the emergency ban has been lifted to allow on-street parking, although most streets will be unable to accommodate such parking. The modified parking ban is in effect in order to ensure that streets remain passable for emergency vehicles and other vehicles as well. Any parked vehicles that impede such travel will be ticketed and towed.

An announcement on the city’s website said, “We are asking residents to use common sense when it comes to parking on street as many narrow roads and others with high snow piles may not allow for safe parking.” Residents can park in city lots free of charge, as well as school parking lots from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. Snow emergency parking rates remain for those that wish to park in garages.

“This was a tough storm,” Mayor Kimberley Driscoll said. “The cleanup is definitely worse than actually fighting the storm in some ways.”

Driscoll said that the city just signed up a “snow swat team” made up of local high school students to do shovel downtown and clear off the crosswalks. The students will get minimum wage for their help.

Next week Driscoll and other local officials will gather for an after-action assessment to determine ways the city can improve its storm clean-up efforts. At this point it’s a little too soon to say, Driscoll added.

As of now the city’s top priority is to keep the streets passable. Crews are working to do so, as well as widening intersections and keeping street lines in sight. The city expects cleanup to take several more days.

“I think Salem, in the big picture made out better than other communities,” Prosniewski said. “We fared the storm pretty well.”

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