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Many West Hartford Sidewalks Remain Unshoveled, Roads Improving

A tour through town on Wednesday with a police officer revealed that there are far too many who will likely receive tickets.

Road and sidewalk conditions throughout West Hartford are continuing to improve four days after the blizzard that dumped more than two feet of snow on the area, but conditions in some areas remain dangerous and motorists and pedestrians are advised to continue to use extreme caution.

A ride-along with West Hartford Police Sgt. Kim Sullivan Wednesday morning revealed school properties in great shape, with drop-off areas cleared to the curb and administrators ensuring safety as they greeted students on the sidewalk.

Sidewalks in many areas of town were another story.

Two of the corners at the intersection of Whiting Lane and Boulevard, where students walk to Whiting Lane Elementary School, remained unshoveled Wednesday morning. On the southwest corner, a man waiting for a CT Transit bus had to stand in the road as traffic whizzed by at full speed.

A short while later, a fender bender was reported at that same intersection.

A crossing guard near Charter Oak International Academy relayed an incident earlier that morning when he tried to stop a car to let children cross. The driver, he said, exclaimed, "You're no cop," and initially made no attempt to stop. "He had to stop because I got in his way," said the crossing guard.

All four corners of New Britain Ave. and South Main St. are commercial properties, but sidewalks were hard to find on Wednesday. "It looks like a lot of the offenders are businesses," Sullivan said.

Sidewalks disappear in the north end of West Hartford, too. At the intersection of King Philip Dr. and Albany Ave., where students walk to King Philip Middle School, pedestrians were forced out into the road.

The town continues to ask residents to do their part in clearing sidewalks, handicapped ramps and bus stop pads to make them passable. Clear sidewalks are critical to the safety of children who are walking to school or are waiting at bus stops.

Town Ordinance 115-24 states, "Removal of snow and ice from premises where there is an established sidewalk is required by owners or occupants within 12 hours after a storm ends or within 12 hours after sunrise, whichever is later. The whole walk must be cleared, including curb cuts, handicapped ramps, and bus stop pads, etc. It is illegal to dump snow from sidewalks and driveways into the streets."

The West Hartford Police began issuing $79 tickets on Wednesday to property owners who are in violation. To file a complaint regarding an impassable sidewalk, residents can call police at (860) 523-5203.

Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor said Wednesday that she is trying to organize a list of Boy Scouts and others resources to assist residents who are unable to take care of their own sidewalks. She urged individuals who need help to contact Human Services Manager Susan Huleatt at 860-561-7578.

Director of Public Works John Phillips said crews are continuing to improve the width of roads, although some travel lanes are stil restricted.

Daytime traffic, which has jammed roads since schools and businesses reopened, also impacts productivity as well as safety. Phillips' own vehicle was rear-ended on Tuesday, he said.

West Hartford's contracted resources have been assigned to other towns which are still in the earlier stages of storm recovery.

"Yes, we still have a long list of narrow roads and a heavy snow build-up in major intersections," Phillips said, but they are working on them and the warmer temperatures are also helping reduce the snow pack. "All in all we are in very good shape," he said. 

However, Phillips said that any additional snowfall in the next few days will require operators to treat the roads rather than continue snow removal.

"We are also challenged with equipment breakdowns. Our shop looks like a MASH Unit for vehicles. All of rolling stock have been working hard since Friday afternoon," he said.

Eric meikle February 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Well thanks to the plow drivers thay blocked the sidewalks so we workers cant get to do the sidewalks so i thank the plow drivers should get the tickets
Burris Cohen February 14, 2013 at 08:14 PM
John Phillips, Director of Public Works, despite all his posturing about how well he thinks he did during the storm, really fell down on this one. Anyone with any REAL military esperience (which he says he has) knows that plowing major artery intersections is paramount after a storm. As it is, Phillips left most of the Town's main arteries unplowed, and their intersections were poorly cleared - most had one lane open in either direction - FIVE DAYS AFTER THE STORM!!. The whole Town has been literally shut down because of Phillip's negligence on this one. Phillips has to stop posturing on this, and give his plow drivers a kick in their collective behinds to get the job done. No more of this "I let them go because I didn't want them to break a nail."
Amy Bartlett February 14, 2013 at 09:13 PM
@Burris is right. None of the important intersections are plowed in WeHa. YOu can't get through anywhere and the traffice is all backed up. Where is the town on this? How come they don't plow the intersections already??? It's way past the storm, what's the excuse THIS time??
Amy Bartlett February 14, 2013 at 09:16 PM
I saw 2 plows stuck in the snow - at an INTERSECTION on Price on Monday: stupid is as stupid does
Blake Beloin February 14, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I think what people should really be concerned about is that emergency personnel can't get around town because the roads are all backed up with traffic trying to get though intersections that haven't been plowed out. Your right that enough time has passed - there's no critical shortage of town employees now to shove things out - but the town lacks the leadership to manage things now, well after the storm is over. Our leaders are too busy patting themselves on the back telling us what a good job they've done and why they didn't do a better job. This afternoon I watched as an ambulance and two police cars tried (and failed) to circumvent heavy traffic on New Park and Flatbush, which was backed up north and south on New Park because the X-over wasn't cleared of snow. This is the type of thing that should have been handled days ago - but wasn't and isn't.
Ronni Newton February 15, 2013 at 02:28 AM
I agree that traffic has been awful all week, and problems with lanes still covered with snow or partially blocked intersections are contributors. However, as a matter of clarification, New Britain Ave., which in my opinion is in about the worst shape of any road in town, is a state road. So is Albany Ave. The town is not permitted to do any work on those roads.

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