February 2, 2010 |

City asks to keep roads free of all traffic

City officials announced today (/Sunday) that road conditions remain extremely dangerous. Many primary and secondary roads are still in bad condition and many tertiary roads haven't been hit.

Residents should limit walking and especially driving on roads. There have been many instances where plows have had to swerve to avoid hitting residents and have found themselves stuck in a snow bank. Many vehicles have been abandoned, preventing snow plows from clearing streets. Police will only tow vehicles that are blocking roads.

"Public works has brought in additional assets to assist in snow removal and we are doing everything in our power to get to your street," Ravenstahl said. "Outside contractors will be assisting crews with plowing in our most hard to hit City neighborhoods. In order for our crews to get this City up and running again, we need everyone to pitch in. Number one, we're asking that citizens stay off of the streets and do not drive their cars unless absolutely necessary."

The Governor has sent the Pennsylvania National Guard to assist us with emergency snow removal operations. HumVees and Guardsmen will be pairing up with City paramedics to ensure that ambulances can get to the most important medical calls along tertiary roads. Officials will also be pairing up HumVees and Guardsmen with firefighters and police officers to assist whenever necessary.

"Public safety continues to our number one priority," Ravenstahl said. "I have asked all non-essential employees – employees who are not assisting in public works and public safety efforts – to stay home. It's still not safe out there."

The Mayor strongly encourages businesses and institutions to evaluate their own needs in deciding whether or not they will stay open tomorrow. Many parking lots and park n' ride lots are still not plowed, and transportation for employees will remain treacherous.

CITY OPERATIONS SUSPENDED:

The City has suspended garbage and recycling pickup until further notice.

The following Citiparks facilities will be closed: Senior and Recreation Centers that are not serving as warming centers; Mellon Tennis Center; Schenley Ice Rink; and the Oliver Bath House.

POWER SITUATION:

Many residents are still without power. As of 6:30 p.m. today (Sunday), 1250 City residents have been affected with the largest portion located in the Hilltop neighborhoods. Duquesne Light believes that most power will be restored by tomorrow evening.

311 AND WARMING CENTERS:

City 311 operators went into work this morning and will be working until 11 p.m. tonight to assist residents who are without power and in need of transport to a City warming center.

The Mayor reminded citizens of guidelines when calling 311: residents must call 911 for any emergency; and 311 will not be taking any calls regarding snow removal at this time.

"We've extended 311's hours to help our residents with any unmet needs, in particular, in getting residents without power to warming centers" Ravenstahl said.

Currently, the City is operating six warming centers. They will remain open throughout the night as needed. A full list can be found at www.pittsburghpa.gov, or residents can call 311 to find out their closest location.

IMPORTANT MESSAGES FOR RESIDENTS

· Stay off of the streets, this means driving, and walking when plowing is occurring;

· Unless you are a critical employee to life safety, you are advised to stay home;

· Check on the elderly, especially if they are without power.

IMPORTANT MESSAGES FOR RESIDENTS WITHOUT POWER:

· Alternative heating sources such as generators MUST be outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Running generators inside the home is extremely dangerous and will cause death, as many have read in the papers this morning, there were two deaths which appear to have been caused by CO poisoning in McKeesport.

· Turn on highest faucet to a drip to prevent pipe freeze.

· Use extreme caution with kerosene heaters and other alternative heating sources: do not place near furniture, curtains and other combustible materials. Please, watch children around lighted candles.

· If residents need shelter or hospital transport, please call 911 if life-threatening only. EMS physicians will continue prioritizing calls.

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