The massive snowstorms that have hit Jersey City may be a sign of bigger things to come this winter. Last week’s snow added eight inches to mounds of remaining snow from the December blizzard – and some residents think it may never get removed.
Earl (who did not want last name used) is a downtown Jersey City resident who works as a supermarket security officer. He took city and county politicians to task for the piles of snow that he sees lingering around his neighborhood.
“These folks with their two jobs and their high salaries. Do they not see all the snow that is still around?” Earl said.
Since Dec. 26, over 35 inches have fallen, including the eight that fell last week.
For their part, the mayor’s office said last week they are fully aware of the snow problem that exists and have a “snow team” (consisting of officials from various city agencies) which now meets before any snowstorm.
Since Dec. 26, over 35 inches of snow has fallen in Jersey City.
Snow no more
Downtown Jersey City resident Charles Balcer has seen improvement in terms of snow removal on some of the streets near his York Street home. But he is still surprised by the snow mounds he sees at a particular downtown location.
“I see snow piled by City Hall, which I don’t think I have ever seen in all my years living in this area,” said Balcer, who worked in the late 1970s for the late Mayor Thomas F.X. Smith.
Balcer said that while the city was able this past week to get plows and out on the streets much faster than after the December blizzard, he wonders what will happen if another one hits.
“If we have another blizzard like that, it will be a bigger problem than before,” Balcer said.
He also recommends that the city consider using some of the parks to place snow for the short-term. The JCIA currently dumps removed snow in two locations – at the site of the old Colony Diner on Communipaw Avenue near the Loew’s Improvement Center, and on city property on Commercial Street off of Garfield Avenue.
Lifelong city resident Catherine Grimm finds herself staying in her Waverly Street apartment a lot when there is snow. Grimm, who has suffered from muscle ailments for the past 15 years, said the combination of snow and ice on the ground is a hazard to be avoided in her condition.
“If I hit an icy spot while walking, the crutches go one way and my body goes the other,” Grimm said.
She said the city should be attentive that walkways and sidewalks are clear of snow, either through their own efforts or by compelling property owners to ensure that is the case.
The Jersey City Incinerator Authority (JCIA), responsible for all city snow removal, had 2,600 tons of salt available at three salt storage sites and 67 pieces of equipment on the road during last week’s storm.
Oren Dabney, executive director of the Jersey City Incinerator Authority, said what also helped make this storm easier to deal with was more manpower. Thirty employees of the Jersey City Incinerator Authority’s “Second Chance Maintenance Program” who were laid off in September were rehired earlier this month due to a $310,000 state grant.
“We had guys during the last storm who worked sometimes 36 to 40 hours straight during the blizzard,” Dabney said. “The Second Chance guys are not licensed to drive a plow but they work on the ground by using snow blowers and shovels.”
Dabney also said 20 pieces of removal equipment that were damaged during the blizzard have been repaired and reused during last week’s storm. And he said JCIA workers are going to street corners and bus stops to remove old snow.
He said the public has also done their part to make snow removal easier by moving their cars from major thoroughfares during storm days.
Dabney struck back at critics of the city’s snow removal effort.
“I would tell them to drive a plow, or I would welcome them to do a route and see what kind of work we have to do before they make any comments,” Dabney said.