Jersey City braced as forecasters predicted a major winter storm and heavy snowfall last week. However, a westward shift in the path of the nor’easter left a little more than 6 inches of accumulation. But the snow fell all day, and bitter cold winds and slick streets kept pedestrians and drivers inside.
“We remained generally aggressive in dealing with the storm, and able to make sure we had the resources we needed to deal with it.” – Jim Kennelly
Originally listed as a nor’easter with blizzard conditions, the storm was downgraded early Tuesday, but people were still warned to stay off roads. New Jersey Transit shut bus service but maintained service on the Hudson Bergen Light Rail on a modified schedule.
Other precautions included the elimination of parking in the Journal Square area, allowing residents to park instead in Lincoln Park. These restrictions were relaxed after the storm waned.
While the cleanup continued into Wednesday, residents were reminded to not to park within 25 feet of an intersection and not to double park and hamper the efforts of crews plowing and salting streets.
All vehicles parked within 25 feet of an intersection were at risk of being ticketed or towed. If possible, residents were asked to not park on main thoroughfares, so that the Department of Public Works (DPW) can remove snow from curb-to-curb.
Street sweeping and alternate side parking regulations were suspended at midweek until further notice. Garbage and recycling pickup remained on schedule citywide.
JC Shovels, a city program for helping senior citizens, shoveled the walks of more than 200 senior citizens in the aftermath of the storm, said Jennifer Morrill, spokesperson for Jersey City.
Jersey City sent an army to the streets
Council President Rolando Lavarro Jr. said he drove around Tuesday night after 9 p.m. to check on the conditions of the streets. He said they looked generally good, with main arteries in particular, those going north and south, pretty clear.
“Some of the side/secondary roads going east/west could have used another pass with the plow, as well as the very narrow roads with parking on both sides and many of the dead end streets,” he said. He said he sent in a replowing request for a number of streets, crediting Mike Engleke, the night time DPW supervisor and his crew, for getting to them.
Overall the DPW deployed about 64 crews throughout the city for the duration of the storm.
Mayor Steven Fulop said crews came in early, with more than 60 salt spreaders and plows with more than 6,000 tons of salt ready to clear the roadways as cleanly and efficiently as possible.
The Jersey City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Command Center was operational overnight and throughout the storm, serving as the DPW Snow Command Center.
Both OEM and DPW officials closely monitored the storm’s progress in order to coordinate snow-removal operations.
Port Authority cleared PATH rails and stations
The Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management reported that the agency opened its Emergency Operation Center at about 9 p.m. on Monday. It was staffed by key agency decision makers from all of the major facilities and planned to remain open throughout the duration of the storm.
Operations personnel worked 12-hour shifts to ensure that facilities operated safely. The airports, bridges, tunnels and PATH also had snow desks where key personnel analyzed weather reports and deployed staff and equipment.
Among the many sites Port Authority oversaw, it assigned equipment to key places in and around Jersey City such as ice melters, snow plows and salt spreaders. Plow-equipped trains, liquid snow-melting agent trains, and a “jet engine” plow removed snow from PATH tracks, and snow blowers, plows and spreaders cleared station entrances, roads that serve PATH’s 13 stations, and various support facilities.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.