** Note to assignment desks: Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams will be available to reporters at 9pm at the 6th Highway Yard, [State Road and Ashburner Street], with trucks and crews preparing for tomorrow’s operation.**
PHILADELPHIA – With a storm approaching, Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis announced that a Snow Emergency will be declared for the City of Philadelphia beginning at 12:01 am on Thursday, January 4.
For citizens, a Snow Emergency means all parked cars must be moved off Snow Emergency routes for plowing. When moving your car, park as far from the corner of the street as possible; vehicles parked too close to the corner get in the way of snow plows trying to turn corners.
Snow Emergency information and a map of Snow Emergency routes can be found at http://www.philadelphiastreets.com/highways/snow/emergency-routes/. Cars left on Snow Emergency routes will be moved to other parking spots to assist in snow plowing operations. If your car is moved, call 215-686-SNOW to find it. Do NOT call 911.
Citizens are encouraged to travel with caution Thursday. Please give yourself extra time to get to your destination, and workers are encouraged to make use of flex time if available. Caution will be particularly important during the morning rush hour.
Sanitation and recycling collections tomorrow will be suspended. Residents who normally have collections on Thursdays are asked to hold their trash and recycling until next Thursday. Crews are expected to resume collections on Friday but residents should expect delays. Due to the New Year’s holiday collections were already one day behind this week; therefore, Wednesdays materials will be picked up on Friday; Friday’s materials picked up on Saturday. There will be no collections in driveways for the remainder of the week. Residents should place materials at curbside, in front of their homes, to be picked up.
Salting/Plowing: The Philadelphia Streets Department – working in coordination with Parks and Recreation, L&I, Water, and CLIP – will begin a salting operation around midnight. The Department has more than 40,000 tons of salt available. Crews will begin plowing as the snow accumulates, and will treat and plow side streets and neighborhood streets as conditions permit. The Department will have over 375 pieces of equipment deployed at the peak of the operation.
City government offices will be open during normal business hours Thursday. Supervisors are urged to offer flexibility if employees are late.
SEPTA will post real-time travel updates at www.septa.org and @SEPTA on Twitter.
Airport: Travelers and those picking up travelers are encouraged to check their flight status before leaving for the Airport tomorrow. Call your airline, get updates at 1-800-PHL-GATE or check the Airport website, www.phl.org.
Call Centers Open
The Philly 311 Call Center will remain open on normal business hours Thursday (8am- 8pm) to take calls for non-emergencies. Requests for salting and plowing will not be taken during the storm. Once the storm has moved on, the City will announce when such requests will be taken.
The Philadelphia Water Department’s customer contact center 215-685-6300 will be open. Citizens are encouraged to shovel snow from the fronts of fire hydrants and storm drains on their block to allow snow melt to drain to the city sewer system.
Homeless Outreach: The Office of Homeless Services is continuing its Code Blue until further notice. Throughout the Code Blue, Philadelphia’s homeless outreach teams will patrol the streets in greater numbers, urging homeless people to come to local shelters. People do not need ID to enter Code Blue shelters or cafes from the street, and they can remain indoors throughout the duration of the Code Blue. If you are concerned about someone who is homeless, please call the Outreach Coordination Center at 215-232-1984 at any time. Outreach is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. First responders can also transport people to shelter for their own safety.
Pet Safety Awareness: Citizens should contact the ACCT Philly hotline (267-385-3800) if they observe a dog or other pet outside during extreme cold. It is against City ordinance to leave dogs outside in extreme cold without proper shelter, and owners can be fined up to $500.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority will not enforce meter and time limit violations after 10:00 p.m. tonight due to the snow emergency. The PPA will enforce all snow emergency and safety violations. Vehicles illegally parked on snow emergency routes after midnight tonight will be subject to ticketing and towing.
The Parking Authority will offer discounted parking in Center City garages during the Snow Emergency to help lessen the amount of cars parking on the street. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. today and running through the end of the Snow Emergency, the Philadelphia Parking Authority will offer a special 24-hour flat rate of $5.00 for the following parking facilities:
• AutoPark at Independence Mall (5th & Market Streets)
• AutoPark at Jefferson (10th & Ludlow Streets)
• Autopark at the Gallery Mall (10th & Filbert Streets)
• Autopark at 8th & Filbert Streets Garage (801 Filbert Street)
• AutoPark at Old City (2nd & Sansom Streets)
• Philadelphia Family Court Garage (1503-11 Arch Street – Going south on 15th Street, enter the garage on the west side just after 15th & Cherry St.)
To receive the discounted $5 rate, customers must bring their ticket and pay at the PPA Management Office in each garage.
Philadelphia Prisons: All inmate visits are canceled Thursday for all jails in Philadelphia County.
The Departments of Parks and Recreation reminds residents that if a tree falls during a storm and it’s blocking a road, or it has fallen on a house, car or other property, call 911. A crew of arborists from Philadelphia Parks & Recreation are on-call to respond to tree emergencies and they will come out to remove the hazard and any part of the tree that is an immediate risk to public safety. Other parts of the tree that don’t pose an immediate risk (such as tree trunks and stumps) will be removed at a later time so our crews can focus on other safety hazards around the city during extreme weather events. In the event that a tree has fallen on electrical wires, please call PECO’s emergency line: 1-800-841-4141.
• Tune to local news for weather updates.
• Sign up for emergency alerts and weather updates from ReadyPhiladelphia at www.phila.gov/ready.
• For more winter weather tips, visit the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management online at www.phila.gov/ready.
• For official updates from the City, follow @PhilaOEM on Twitter or find them on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and Blogspot.
• Other City Twitter accounts to follow for information: @PhiladelphiaGov; @Philly311; @PhilaStreets; @PhillyPolice; and @PhillyFireDept.