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Blue Lights System 'Working Excellently' So Far

The true test of the city's new emergency notification and parking ban system, however, will happen when Peabody gets hit with a big snow storm, says Public Services Director Bob Langley.

Public Services Director Bob Langley says the cleanup from Wednesday's storm, which dropped a few inches of snow, went relatively smoothly, although it didn't appear that way earlier in the morning.

Peabody Patch received several comments from readers, wondering why the city had instituted an emergency parking ban the night before and then seemingly hadn't been on top of the situation to clear the roads for morning commuters.

It also seemed like there was a lack of plow trucks out in operation.

Langley said, in fact, that city plow crews did deploy when the storm hit at 5 a.m., but they went to the schools first as the top priority. Unfortunately, rush hour quickly arrived and made it difficult transitioning back to the roads once the schools were clear.

There were also only 20 city plows and sanders out Wednesday -- Langley chose not to call in the 100 or so private contractors the city relies on in big storms.

Langley said smaller storms early in the season are trickier to anticipate exactly how many vehicles will be needed to handle the cleanup -- among other concerns, he needs to make the snow and ice budget last through the winter as much as possible.

All that said, city crews didn't encounter any problems Langley was aware of Wednesday afternoon. He expected crews to finish scraping and sanding by early evening.

He said the snow emergency and temporary parking ban, which went into effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, would be lifted that evening, and so it was by 6 p.m.

The storm was just the second time Peabody has utilized its new emergency notification system, and so far, so good.

Langley said the snow emergency was called early to give residents enough warning as they returned home from work the day before the storm hit. He said he only knew of a couple cars that still needed to be towed on Wednesday.

"I think the system is working excellently," he said, adding that there's a good deal of cooperation and teamwork between his department, the police and other city officials.

Langley, however, is still not completely sold on the switchover from an annual winter parking ban.

"I think the real tale will be told when we have a bigger storm and have to deal with some of those congested areas in the city," he said.

T. Gordon January 17, 2013 at 12:13 PM
Too bad the public works department wasn't "working excellently." They knew this was coming and didn't plow or sand (at least by 7 am). It was dangerous for not only cars, but kids walking to school. Cars were getting stuck and fishtailing all over the place. Can't this city get their act together?
Michael Voltero January 17, 2013 at 01:11 PM
City plow tore up several huge chunks of sod along the sidewalk in front of my house and a couple others on Berkshire Road--that didn't happen in the past with the private plow operators.
D poster January 17, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Also tuning into 1640 am radio station is all static
Saber Walsh January 17, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Blue lights worked, the 1640 didn't, the plowing or sanding of hills/schools a total fail. Overall nobody hurt, but shows that most of the improvements still are on the Public Works side of the world. Private plows in Peabody are really funny to watch. Our last really big snowstorm, I watched a city plow followed by at least three brand new Ford Superduty private plows. The city plow was taking the storm head on, and the private plows were just following the city truck, with their blades JUST above the pavement, so their pretty new diesels wouldn't get hurt. Total fail.
DEBBIE January 17, 2013 at 09:56 PM
I agree. Trying to get most AM stations to work clearly is difficult. Some apartments and condos can't reach the station at all.
Rich January 20, 2013 at 06:54 PM
The combination of blue lights and the Nixle alerts work very well, but as some have referenced the Radio on 1640AM has not been active on any of the storms. Shouldn't this means of communcation also be used? How about a repeating series of 'standard' storm alert messages that can be used, or a link from Nixle specific warnings on the channel all the time? Can these two be linked or duplicated? I also think that sanding or salting of major streets and hills needs to be 'completed' before 6 AM on weekdays, when the early commuter hour starts. Aren't the High School buses starting their routes well before 7 AM, which is when the HS day starts? Don't we want the streets safe for those kids?

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