As you know, at 10:30 AM on Tuesday, January 21st, we issued a snow emergency declaration. With this, WGAL News, Lancaster Online, and the City's website posted announcements that a snow emergency would go into effect at Noon. We also sent snow emergency messages on the City's Facebook, Twitter, and email alert systems and on the Police website and Facebook account.
With the snow emergency declaration, residents were advised to clear vehicles from snow emergency routes and move cars into Parking Authority Garages.
This is not the first snow emergency declaration issued in the City, but it is the most recent. The incident provides an opportunity to remind the public of what to expect during a snow emergency, and to review how snow emergencies are managed.
1. First, residents are encouraged to sign up for Facebook, Twitter, and alerts on the City's website.
2. Second, residents are encouraged to determine whether or not they live on a snow emergency route, and to identify the Parking Authority Garage located closest to their residence. Note that garages owned by the Red Rose Transit Authority and by Lancaster Newspapers are not part of the Parking Authority network.
3. A snow emergency declaration allows crews to plow from curb-to-curb. This plowing cannot be done if vehicles remain parked along the route.
4. When a snow emergency goes into effect, City Police begin going door-to-door along snow emergency routes in an attempt to locate owners of vehicles that remained parked along these routes. When efforts to locate those residents failed, vehicles are ticketed and towed.
5. During last week's emergency, Police started ticketing and going door-to-door at approximately 3 pm. They continued this effort through the night until midnight. Towing began at approximately 4 pm.
6. Ticketing of these vehicles is required by the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code. Towing is done by a private tow operator under contract with the City. Last February, after following the required bidding process, the City's towing contract was awarded to Silverback towing.
7. An estimated 125 vehicles were towed during last week's snow emergency. Since that time, we have received complaints from residents related to the service provided by the towing company. We are reviewing our contract with the company and will take whatever steps we can legally take to address these issues.