CLEVELAND (WJW)– Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb held a virtual conference on the city’s snow removal plans Thursday afternoon.
About 15 inches of snow fell in parts of Cleveland during last week’s snowstorm. In the days following, Bibb, who was sworn in on Jan. 3 and is the first new mayor in 16 years, promised to review the snow removal plans, saying the city used every truck and driver available, but it wasn’t enough.
“Last Monday, we experienced one of the largest accumulations of snow we’ve actually seen in a decade in Cleveland. And our crews worked and fulfilled the existing snow removal policy plan as written. But as many of you know, we learned quickly that that plan is not good enough to meet the demands and needs of all of our residents,” Bibb said.
The current policy is that main and secondary streets are cleared first. Residential streets are cleared only after the mains are passable. There are more than 10,000 streets in the city of Cleveland.
“Our current policy doesn’t account for snowfall intensity. It actually only accounts for the amount of snow. We got 15 inches of snow that came really, really fast. Thus, we weren’t really prepared for the magnitude of that storm,” Bibb said.
Currently, there are 148 staff members dedicated to snow and ice. That’s three shifts of 49 crew members, with 59 dump trucks and 13 pickup trucks equipped for snow and ice removal. Ten of those trucks are down for maintenance, the mayor said.
Bibb said they plan to increase the fleet by 20 trucks, which includes retrofitting 10 existing trucks with plows and acquiring five more trucks, to service residential streets faster. He said they will be looking at other departments across the city to help staff the additional vehicles.
Cleveland Chief Operating Officer Bonnie Teeuwen said the city is launching a snowplow tracker map online. It will start at the beginning of each weather event and it’s updated every 2 minutes.
The plow routes are currently formatted manually, but the city is looking into programs that can create more efficient routes.