Politicians often go to great lengths to get voters to the polls.
But Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty is prepared to go the extra mile during the coming snowstorm, to get them to the garage.
He pledged to personally ferry residents to and from Morristown Parking Authority garages, if that’s what it takes to clear the streets for snow plows.
“If someone needs a ride, call my office. We’ll follow them to the garage” and take them home after they park their cars, the Mayor said after Tuesday’s council meeting.
If necessary, “I’ll do it,” he said. And that goes for the return trip to fetch their vehicles, he added.
The Parking Authority is offering free parking to residents (show your driver’s license to waive fees) from noon on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, to noon on Friday at these venues:
- Dalton Parking Garage (Cattano Avenue)
- Ann/ Bank Parking Garage
- DeHart Garage
- Vail Parking Deck (Access from South Street)
Between six- and 10 inches of snow, possibly accompanied by sleet and gusts approaching 30 mph, are forecast for late Wednesday through late Thursday by the National Weather Service, which has issued a winter storm warning.
“I’m the mayor of disasters,” deadpanned Mayor Dougherty, whose first term included an earthquake, Tropical Storm Irene, an October “Frankenstorm,” and Hurricane Sandy.
The town Department of Public Works has been struggling to remove icy snow banks from local roads, a job hampered by parked vehicles encrusted in snow from the last two storms, the Mayor said. The administration is considering posting emergency “no parking” signs on newly cleared streets so they can be cleared more easily during Thursday’s storm.
On Wednesday, vehicles must be removed by 7 am for snow removal from these roads:
- Lincoln Street
- Lakeside Place
- Pocahontas Street
- Logan Place
- Hazel Street (from Liberty Street to School)
- Speedwell Place
Snowstorms have come so frequently since early December that the town is running out of space at Burnham Park to deposit all the snow removed from streets, said town Administrator Michael Rogers.
Already, this winter is New Jersey’s most expensive ever for snow removal, and shortages of road salt are reported across the Northeast.
Morristown has enough road salt for the next storm, said town Engineer Jeff Hartke. Beyond that, he wasn’t venturing any estimates. His weather gurus are telling him to brace for about seven inches of snow this week.
More money for snow removal overtime and road salt must be added to the municipal budget being prepared for this calendar year, said Michael Rogers. He did not have overtime figures yet for this winter.
The Mayor praised efforts by public works employees, and reminded the public to report any impassable crosswalks to the DPW at 973-292-6670 or to his office at 973-292-6629. That’s also is the number to call on Wednesday for residents who need the Mayor’s garage valet service.
Polar vortices and mountains of snow may be the new normal, the Mayor said.
“On top of Sandy and Irene, I guess what we now have is longer, snowier winters,” he said. “We’re going to have to plan for that.”