Mayor Evans: Cars could be towed if they aren’t out of the plows’ way during winter storm

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The City of Rochester is getting ready for our second big snowstorm this winter.

Wednesday Mayor Malik Evans gave an update on what the city is doing to make sure you stay safe on the roads Thursday.

“When we see the storm coming people are on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week ready to go,” Mayor Evans said.

Evans said the city is ready for another winter blast and says crews have been all around the city, using dump trucks and working on clearing out the leftover snow from our last storm.

“Residents and business owners have an important role to play here,” Evans said. “As I said as a supplemental service we do go down and plow sidewalks when it hits 4 inches we spend about $1.8 million a year doing that.”

But Evans said that’s not enough just for the city to take it all on. Per city code, it’s the responsibility of property owners to remove snow from the sidewalk in front of their property and Mayor Evans is urging neighbors to help neighbors.

Rochester resident Edward Smith got a head start doing just that, helping his next-door neighbor ahead of the storm.

“Right now I am out here shoveling for my neighbor next door because it’s something I do all the time,” Smith said. “I help out neighbors because that’s what I do. That’s the way I was raised when I was a little kid coming up. That’s what I do, that’s my enjoyment whether someone wants me to or not that’s what I will do if I am able to help.”

Mayor Evans said this is key when it comes to making sure people are safe and not working in the roads.

He said residential plowing starts when there’s three inches of snow on the ground and said the goal is to keep roads open by initiating 24/7 staffing by salting and treating the roadways.

“I know there are people that go down the street in a wheelchair where even if it’s just one inch of snow that affects them,” Evans said. “We want to make sure that people, if you own a business if you own a residence in the City of Rochester you have an obligation to make sure you are shoveling your sidewalk and outside of your business.”

Evans said make sure your cars are also out of the way.

“If you park your vehicle on the street, people always say “What are those alternative signs for?” For plowing, you have to make sure you observe the alternate parking regulations to make room for plows,” Evans said.

Evans said if you are stuck or plowed in they will move your car to a side street and if they can’t do that they will tow it to the city’s auto impound lot on Colfax street and you’ll have to pay.

“Let’s say you live in the Park Avenue neighborhood and you live on Harvard Street, we might move your car to Berkeley Street and if we can’t move it there we’re going to move it to the impound lot and you will be responsible for that fee,” Evans said.

Evans said he knows it’s an issue and is urging contractors and people to not plow snow from driveways or parking lots into roadways or onto sidewalks.

“Equipment only goes so far at the other point of it we have to start relying on people to do exactly what the mayor said which is their responsibilities they’re going to have to clear the sidewalks after we do, they’re going to need to keep them cleared,” Department of Environmental Commissioner Richard Perrin said.

You can get fined if you don’t clear your sidewalks, but Mayor Evans said he’s hoping it doesn’t get to that point and said it’s our civic duty to help each other out during this storm.

“A lot of this is city code but some of it is just good neighborly,” Evans said. “It’s the neighborly thing to do and we want Rochester to be a city of good neighbors. So I am begging for our neighbors to do their part, shovel their sidewalk to help their neighbors that might be homebound and to make sure we are looking out for those who might be disabled in our community.”

Evans and Perrin said if you need any help or if you do walk outside and your car is gone, call 311 and they will help point you in the right direction.