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More snow, more frustration over snow removal on side streets

Posted: 4:39 PM, Feb 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-18 23:27:20Z
Milwaukee residents upset about side streets

MILWAUKEE — More snow has led to more frustration for people who live on Milwaukee's side streets.

After the latest snowfall, homeowners near Ohio Avenue and 68th said they are getting tired of those side streets being a mess.

When we met Michael Wilson, his Pontiac sedan was stuck at the Ohio and Burdick intersection.

Wilson and his neighbors said city plows do not come through their side streets enough or sometimes at all. They said the main streets looked great, but if the side streets are covered in snow, it makes getting to the main roads difficult. Then there is the issue of not getting the snow plowed to the curb or on corners, making the streets more narrow.

"It makes it hard. Sometimes I have to go to work late to take my wife to work so she doesn’t get stuck ... it’s a pain. It’s a real pain," said Ron Walter, who lives in the area.

Last week, Milwaukee's Department of Public Works said 58 plow trucks had issues or broke and they are short about 45 drivers.

"We don’t have our funding priorities in place. Right now we have insufficient snow removal." — Alderman Tony Zielinski

On Monday afternoon, Alderman Tony Zielinski said he had not heard any updates about those issues.

"We don’t have our funding priorities in place. Right now we have insufficient snow removal," said Zielinski. He went on to criticize the emphasis on spending for the city's streetcar.

We reached out to DPW and the mayor's office for comment. They sent us the following statement from Jeff Polenske, Commissioner of Public Works, regarding DPW snow operations:

"This has been a very snowy month and we certainly understand that the public is getting tired of winter. I want to assure everyone that the Department of Public Works and it’s dedicated staff are committed to responding to what mother nature sends our way. We carefully monitor our performance and remain focused on getting our streets safe and passable in as timely a manner as possible.

The City of Milwaukee was hit with another 7 plus inches of snow. While the initial forecast of 3 to 5 inches was further enhanced by lake-effect snow, we have made great progress in clearing the 7,000 lane miles of city streets. Our approach with salting the streets through the early period of the storm is now showing its benefit as it is making it easier to get to bare pavement. Salt trucks have been salting and plowing the arterial streets since 7 am Sunday and once we knew we were going to likely get higher totals than originally forecasted, we initiated our heavier plow equipment operations at 1 am. We had 267 pieces of equipment and operators working through the night to clear our streets from this latest round of snow and we’re continuing to get at the side streets through the day. Our operation will continue over the next couple nights in an effort to get to the parking lanes during the overnight alternate side parking regulation periods and to clear corners and sidewalks adjacent to city-owned property. As is normal, we are also responding to calls from citizens to make sure we haven’t missed anything in our operations."