City government to open at 10 a.m. Tuesday

Posted at 10:55 AM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-26 12:32:18-05

Thirty-six hours after a historic snowstorm dropped more than 29 inches of snow in Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked for continued patience.

"Needless to say, the recovery is going to take time," Rawlings-Blake said during a news conference late Monday morning. "I want to thank the crews that have been working around the clock, going above and beyond."

The mayor said at a second news conference Monday afternoon that city government offices will reopen at 10 a.m., with liberal leave in effect for non-essential employees. She also urged private businesses to be flexible with their employees and allow them to telecommute if possible. 

Residents who are parked at city garage must move their cars by 6 a.m. Tuesday. Nineteen rec centers will be open from noon until 5 for meal distribution, the mayor said. 

While she didn't put a number on it, Rawlings-Blake said cleanup will be costly. 

"When you have a storm of historic proportions, the budget will be historic as well," Rawlings-Blake said. 

The mayor said crews have been working around the clock in 12-hour shifts and some haven't been home since Friday.

There are 5,000 lane miles of roads including 3,500 lane miles of neighborhoods in the city, she said.

Baltimore City Department of Transportation Director William Johnson added that there's no timeline as to when city residents can expect to see all side streets to be cleared, but he said there's also no higher priority. Officials said part of the hold-up is that snow on the side streets has melted then re-frozen making it difficult for plows to clear a path. In addition, not all of the snow equipment can fit down the smaller one-lane roads. So, their strategy is to bring in smaller pieces of equipment, such as bobcats, to pick-up the snow and haul it away. And while officials are pleading for patience, some residents are getting anxious.

"It's tough, 30 inches is a lot," said Rob Hood, a Canton resident. "We're running out of places to put it and I'd like to see more snow plows out here right now."

Megan Deckert, another Canton resident, said she wasn't surprised in the delayed snow removal, "We were warned ahead of time that Belnord Ave. being one-way was going to be one of the last ones to be touched if they can even get a plow down the street," she said.

However, Roxie Alsruhe, said she plans to take matters into her own hands. "I think the neighbors have come to a census that we're going to have to plow our own streets. So, people are just going to come out with shovels and start digging out. We just haven't figured out where we're going to put the snow."

As of Monday evening, the city remains in Phase 2 of the Snow Emergency Plan, which means vehicles are prohibited from parking along snow emergency routes. If your car was towed, you can call 3-1-1 to find out where it was relocated to.