City services resume 5 days after blizzard

February 7, 2011 6:19:46 PM PST
All city services returned to normal schedules Monday, and the temporary parking meter holiday ended downtown at 9 a.m.

Parking meter enforcement will resume for the rest of Chicago on Tuesday. It was halted to give drivers a break after the storm.

School bus service resumed resumed Monday morning as well.

The city has worked hard to recover from the storm, plowing streets and sending dump trucks down alleys to make them passable for garbage trucks. But those who work outside especially appreciate homeowners who did their own snow removal.

It normally takes mailman Mark Escobar four hours to deliver mail on his South Side route, but since the storm it takes six hours because he has to navigate some paths that haven't been cleared of snow.

"It's treacherous and dangerous trying to go over these hills that the city actually plowed up on the streets and that makes it kind of difficult. You have to walk all the way around to the streets to get to the house," Escobar told ABC7.

Covered sidewalks and icy steps make it difficult to deliver mail, but in the days after the storm the post office says houses that don't get mail are few and far between -- less than one tenth of 1 percent of their customers.

"If they have medicine or something or personal checks and things like that, you try to make a serious effort. I mean, all of it has to be delivered but especially medicine, you have to make a serious effort to get that delivered," said Escobar.

Garbage crews are back on their normal schedules after service was suspended for days. But getting in alleys to collect garbage is still challenging in some areas where snow remains high.

"The alleys are not cleared. The garbage people still cannot come through. So it's just bad. We pay our taxes just like everybody else and this is what we get," said Melvin Griffin, resident.

That's where Michael Powell comes in. The private contractor says the past few days have been busy with lots of calls coming in asking him to clear alleys.

"I've been doing alleys since I the snow hit. People haven't been getting out to go to work, people have been missing work, and I just have been trying to help out where I could," said Powell.

The number of 311 calls for snow removal has gone down. Last Wednesday, the city logged 6,800 calls. On Sunday those calls were down to 600.