City to side street residents: 'Be patient'

February 4, 2011 (CHICAGO)

And a reminder: the city is not responsible for alleys.

Many residents have been frustrated by the clogged streets.

Forty-eight hours after the storm and the residents on East 78th still face a snow-packed street.

"I think it's a bunch of hullabaloo. To me, it feels like we're not important on this block," said trapped motorist Ravi Shah.

There are critics, but also supporters -- those who understand the city's predicament.

"I think the city is real busy, so I'm not that upset about it," said resident Darryl Anderson.

The official update is the city's making progress.

"It's a 7 p.m. tonight, we are using every available resource to remove snow, including using approximately 525 pieces of equipment," said Cmsr. Thomas Byrne of the Streets and Sanitation Dept.

Roads are improving, but sidewalks are the next neighborhood challenge, especially for Sean Harris, who is blind, and ventured outside and caught the bus for the first time since the blizzard ended.

"It's really a challenge because you must walk in the street, so I must walk among the high snow mounds and I use my cane to trail," Harris said.

Many alleys are impassable, which means if residents need to get out, it's up to them -- the city is not responsible.

"We did this. Everybody in the community and neighborhood came out," said Gerardo Crucado

In Antioch, a Wal-Mart shut down so workers could clear over a foot of snow from the roof.

Additionally, Chicago police are reporting their first snow-related crime.

A 47-year-old man was shot and robbed. Two suspects ended up taking $27 and his snow blower. He was shot in the leg and is now recovering at Stroger Hospital.

City, mayor discuss snow removal process
Some parts of the Chicago area got about 2 feet of snow during the storm. So, the process to clear all of it could be long.

The city wants to remind residents not to call 3-1-1 asking for helping digging out cars. Call volume to the city services 24-hour hotline has been massive.

Service requests can be made online at

Snow plows have at least partially cleared several side streets, however. Drivers still have to dodge mounds of snow.

Other streets have not even been touched, but what may be most impressive is how fast all of the main streets were cleared.

"We have been working non-stop since the storm hit, and we will continue to work until we have the public lanes as clear of snow as necessary. We will get the job done, but it will take some time," said Cmsr. Thomas Byrne of the Streets and Sanitation Dept.

It is a matter of patience for city residents who are still waiting to see Streets and Sanitation salt trucks roll down their snow-covered blocks. After clearing the arterial streets, the city's fleet of trucks are now working in the neighborhood streets.

ABC7 is told 274 snow plow trucks were reportedly out Friday focusing on the side streets. Crews will only work on alleys, however, to make run for garbage trucks that need to go through.

After being out of sight Wednesday immediately after the blizzard, Mayor Daley spoke to reporters for the first time Thursday. Many had wondered why he did not speak publicly earlier.

"One day, I mean, one day, I'm sorry! I love you. Not all of you were here either. So, let's be realistic," the mayor told reporters.

The city also says it has 200 pieces of what they call heavy equipment, to get rid of the mess.

City officials are just asking residents to be patient, but that is hard to do, especially if one of the uncleared streets is yours.

Suburban residents help clear snow out
There were plenty of signs of people helping each other in Roseland. Residents on one block helped push out a police car that had become stuck.

In one Southeast Side block, residents took the snow clean-up into their own hands. They got their snow blowers and shovels together and cleared their streets and sidewalks.

"The guys just got together. I think they were having a good time doing it," one woman told ABC7.

"As a team, we come out here and do what we need to do and not wait for the city or the government or somebody to do what we need to do as neighbors," Chicago resident Greg Reed said.

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