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Worcester news you can use!

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WORCESTER STORM INFO:

Parking ban in effect early Tuesday, City offices closed, trash collection delayed

Worcester prepares for 18+inch storm!

In anticipation of Tuesday’s snow storm, predicted to drop 18-plus inches on Worcester, City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. on Monday made the following announcements:

CITY STORM RESPONSE

· Public works crews began pretreating the city’s streets at noon Monday and will continue through the evening. Morning crews will be ready to go starting at 4 a.m. Tuesday, with more than 350 pieces of equipment ready to plow, salt and sand.

· The city’s Customer Service line, 508-929-1300, will be staffed starting at 6:30 a.m. through the end of the storm.

· The City’s Emergency Operations Center at the new Regional Emergency Communications Center will open Tuesday morning and stay open throughout the storm, to allow representatives from various City departments, public utilities and the Worcester Public Schools to coordinate their response.

PARKING BAN

· A declared winter parking ban will go into effect at 2 a.m. Tuesday. Residents can check the city’s website to find out where to park on their street. The parking ban is an essential part of keeping the city’s streets clear in a snow emergency, and the Worcester Police Department teams will be enforcing the ban as soon as it begins, with tickets and tows where necessary.

· All municipal garages will be open and free to the public starting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, through the duration of the storm, until 8 a.m. Wednesday.

TRASH/RECYCLING COLLECTION

· Trash and recycling collection will be postponed for Tuesday. Collection across the City will be delayed by one day. Tuesday’s collection areas will be picked up on Wednesday; Wednesday areas will be collected on Thursday, and so on. This will allow for all available resources to be put towards plowing and clearing the roads.

SCHOOLS

· The Worcester Public Schools have canceled classes for Tuesday.

CITY OFFICES CLOSED

· City Manager Augustus has ordered all municipal offices closed on Tuesday, in keeping with Gov. Charlie Baker’s call to keep as many people as possible off the roads. City Hall, the Worcester Public Library, the Worcester Senior Center will all be closed to the public, and to all non-essential city employees.

· All City Hall meetings, including City Council, will be postponed.

· City Manager Augustus also urged all Worcester businesses to consider closing if possible on Tuesday, or to encourage employees whose jobs allow to work from home.

SHELTERS

St. John’s [Church on Temple Street] will again open its emergency overflow homeless shelter Monday evening.

The St. John’s food pantry will remain open throughout the day Tuesday.

The city’s emergency shelter at Worcester Technical High School will be ready if needed for large-scale power outages or other emergencies requiring the sheltering of a large number of people.

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Fred Astaire called her “beautiful dynamite” …

The parking wars begin …

By Edith Morgan

On December first, the winter parking ban begins again, and with it will come the yearly battle to claim your spot, dig it out, set a rickety chair there to save it, and guard against “intruders.”

We have never really fully solved the parking problem, especially on heavily residential streets, with row upon row of triple deckers, each containing families with at least one car – built before the advent of the car, on narrow and sloping streets, with yards too small for the long, hardtopped driveways required.

So this is a time when the civility of all of us is greatly tested… and where some creativity and neighborliness is needed. While legally the public streets are PUBLIC, there are possible accommodations that could be worked out with neighbors and friends or co-tenants so everyone can have a haven for his/her car, and perhaps use space that is unavailable in the summer 9such as lawns or flower beds where annuals bloomed).

Cooperative shoveling would help, too – cleaning out more than just the narrow space needed for our own cars, why not clear out a little more of the pavement, and squeeze in an extra car or two? And when you hear the snow plow coming by, why not rush out and move cars legally parked on one side, so that side can be clear of snow all winter? A few minutes’ work can make things easier for months….

Those who live on “private” streets have different problems: while they can decide who parks in front of their property, they are responsible for the upkeep of the road that fronts their yards.

At this time of the year, my sympathy goes out to the small business owners: I am especially concerned about those along Lincoln Street who depend on passing traffic for their livelihood. Customers who park just long enough to hop in and purchase something, come out to find they have been ticketed, and are often lost to the neighborhood business because of the haste and nastiness of the “meter maids.”

Is it really worth it to the city to make the extra bucks at the expense of our small, family=owned stores, who are the real lifeblood of our local economy? It is not enough to have a few days of “amnesty” from parking meters at Christmas time – the struggle to survive and thrive goes on all year. In our neighborhood, we had negotiated with Hahnemann Hospital (now part of UMass Memorial, etc..) to allow us to use part of their space fronting on Lincoln Street FREE OF CHARGE, making it possible for the merchants in that area to have a dozen extra parking spaces. All was going well until the city came in and put up parking meters in this lot – a lot which does not belong to the city…. How difficult would it be to give our neighborhood merchants a break and allow their customers to use this lot – and not receive tickets incessantly? I am certain that something could be worked out….

Worcester is an old city, with many steep hills and narrow streets which are part of its charm, but also part of its problems…The technology moves along so much faster than we can make changes – but we certainly should give particular attention to those who create businesses, keep the money here, and provide the many services and choices that make our neighborhoods unique. We did just have a “Small Business Saturday,” but there should be many more throughout the year, to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of small businesses in our midst. Shop small, shop local, shop unique.