Winter Storm Harper dumped more than a foot of snow across most of Akron Saturday and into Sunday, leaving a lot of residents stuck over the weekend.
It's understandable, especially when it comes all at once as the snow did over the weekend.
Monday was the Martin Luther King holiday for Akron Public Schools and Tuesday was declared a "snow day" by Superintendent David James. By Wednesday, students were ready to head back to school, but the city wasn't. By the end of the day Wednesday, a report from APS spokesman Mark Williamson was that a total of 19 school buses wound up stuck in snow and needed assistance getting out. (Update: Thursday morning 8 more school buses were stuck, according to Williamson.) Williamson said not only is it up to the city to clear the streets, but it's also up to Akron residents to clear their sidewalks, to help the students who walk to school get their safely. Otherwise, Williamson tells us, there are students walking in the streets, which is obviously dangerous.
Back to the roads, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan spoke with the Ray Horner Morning Show on 1590 WAKR, saying there is no excuse for the excess snow that remained through the holiday and into Wednesday, and that the city is doing everything to prevent a repeat.
Read the full statement from the City of Akron below:
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 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.