Chicago weather: Falling ice, snow-packed alleys trouble residents before warm-up

Monday, February 12, 2018 06:16PM
Chicagoans are dealing with falling ice and snow-packed alleys after a weekend of snowfall, and just before rising temperatures are set to bring on a melt.

CHICAGO - Chicagoans are dealing with falling ice and snow-packed alleys after a weekend of snowfall, and just before rising temperatures are set to bring on a melt.

Ice fell from a high rise near 1 South Wacker Drive onto the sidewalks, leaving fairly large chunks on the ground. The area was roped off for pedestrian safety. No injuries were reported.

The Apple Store on Michigan Avenue has also been known to have a falling ice problem, and officials are reminding people to be careful when walking downtown near tall buildings.

It's likely more ice will fall as temperatures start to climb this week.

While main city roads and residential side streets have been plowed, residents who rely on alleys are still having a tough time getting around in the snow. Alleys remain snowy, causing problems for residents, especially on the South and West sides, trying to get in and out of their garages.

"Over the last three, four days it's been very difficult. I mean, I actually have two cars that are parked in the garage and we can't even get out," said Michael Williams, resident.

"Right now I am waiting for my wife to come out so I can drive her to her car because of the alley. She cannot park the Saturn back here because it sits too low on the ground and it would get caught in the snow," said Charles Talbert, resident.

"The gates won't open, the doors will not open, and the ice is compacting my doors, so on and so forth. It's been a nightmare everywhere," said Vince DeTommaso, landlord in Wicker Park.

DeTommaso also own a business, and the snow has kept him busy but not in terms of customers.

"It's been terrible. We've had to close for three days, and now we're just here shoveling our way in and out as much as we can," he said.

His garage, off an alleyway near Paulina and Division, has been blocked by all the snow from last week.

"I have to hire people to just come and help me shovel to get in and out of my place because I cannot park on the street," DeTommaso said.

Falling ice, snow-packed alleys ahead of warm-up

On the South Side, near 41st and Ellis, a pickup truck struggled just to drive out of an alleyway.

"What concerns me is, what if we have an emergency? And we live right next door to a senior citizens' home. Most of the citizens in this area are at least 60 years and older, if you figure with an emergency occurred just how difficult that would be," Williams said.

Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation purposefully avoids plowing alleys to keep snow from trapping or caving in garage doors. Instead, they use their garbage trucks to track through, making it easier for residents. But even that will take time, which some residents simply do not have.

"I know the city isn't responsible for plowing, but it is very difficult for us to be able to get in and out," Williams said.

Streets and Sanitation said they're working with ward supervisors to identify problem areas where snow has built up in alleyways. They ask residents to call 311 for any immediate problems.

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