19 Aug 2014
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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.

Blue Lights System 'Working Excellently' So Far

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.

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