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Alderman proposes funds for winter cleanup

December 12, 2008 5:05:54 PM PST
An influential alderman is calling on the mayor to shift more money into snow cleanup -- and take care of the slick side streets.To reduce costs and overtime, the city began using less salt on side streets- and confined plowing to normal business hours. Crews are also skipping side streets after minor storms.

Those slick streets have led to more accidents-- and complaints from residents.

"It's bad for children. We have a school down the street, grade schools. And it's bad," said Magdalena Tase, who said she has called her alderman to complain.

Tase isn't the only one calling her aldermen. Alderman Tom Allen, 38 Ward, said his phone is ringing off the hook with complaints from residents.

"Every intersection was a skating rink," said Alderman Allen. "The cost of a senior citizen falling down and breaking his or her hip basically ruins their quality of life."

"Teachers, students and parents are having a difficult time getting out of cars and getting kids across the street because it's ice. It's strictly ice," said Marty Graham-McHugh, principal, St. Bartholomew School.

Matt Smith from the city's department of streets and sanitation released a statement: Today we brought out 100 snow fighting trucks to address remaining issues on our side streets. We have been working with our in-house partners to hold the line on skyrocketing snow removal costs.

Alderman Allen said he wants Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to set aside $1 million apiece from the sale of the Skyway, Midway Airport and the city's parking meters to restore funding for snow removal improvements.

"The bottom line is we're compromising safety in the name of dollars. And we can't do that to our citizens. And we just need to supplement our budget so that we can make the streets safe and not put our citizens in peril," said Alderman Allen.

Allen said he plans to introduce the ordinance next week at a Chicago City Council meeting.


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