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Pittsburgh Crews Aim To Clear All Streets By Tuesday Night, Public Works Director Says

By: Briana Smith and Meghan Schiller/KDKA-TV

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey says he's pleased with the job Public Works did clearing city streets, but some residents still found themselves stuck in the snow Tuesday.

"Not too happy about it, but we're used to it," said Paul Koslof, who has lived in Brookline for more than 50 years. "It's just a shame we have to deal with this all the time."

A lot of areas throughout the city were still covered in snow, even though Gainey vowed to have the streets cleared by Monday night. Acting Public Works Director Chris Hornstein said the new goal is to have everything plowed by Tuesday night.

KDKA caught up with Alaina Vickers on Tuesday afternoon as she fought to break her minivan free from the snow in Squirrel Hill.

"I called AAA and they said I couldn't do nothing unless I dug the front and back tires out, so I'm like -- I don't know what's going on here!" said Vickers.

She's trying to find a place to park her minivan to go check on her friend who lives along Landview Road. She's frustrated, with her patience running thin.

WATCH: NewsChopper 2 flies over the snowy city --

Neighbor Cindy Monarch helped to dig Vickers' car out of its first parking spot. Monarch tells KDKA she's over 70 years old and shouldn't be out with a shovel in hand doing the city's job. Her hilly street remains untouched as of early Tuesday afternoon.

"I am not blaming the plow drivers, they're out there and it's a hard job. I don't blame workers. I'm inside, I don't have to get in a truck during COVID and work," said Monarch. "What I blame is the bureaucracy. How are you structuring this if you have a shortage? What can you do to help if you notice that there's streets that have been complaining consistently for years?"

Neighbors along nearby Rosemoor tell KDKA not to get too excited. The road was only plowed because the water company needed to work on a break.

KDKA's Meghan Schiller reached out to city leaders and found out Hornstein would like to hire 10 plow drivers. He tells KDKA 8 trucks are now out of service.

He said Public Works wants to hire 10 plow drivers, and eight trucks are now out of service.

"I just ran a report this afternoon and we have about eight trucks that are going to be down for long-term maintenance since the beginning of this storm," said Hornstein. That's 10 percent of the city's fleet out after the first significant storm.

Hornstein also points to the issue of modernizing the maps.

"All our routes are mapped, but unfortunately the part that we haven't collated yet is getting all of those routes mapped together in one location," said Hornstein.

That could explain why some residents argue their streets are regularly untouched after a snowstorm.

WATCH: KDKA's Briana Smith reports

KDKA caught up with Gainey on Tuesday and asked him how people can find out where their street falls on the priority list.

"If they contact our office, because that's a big one throughout the city, but if they contact our office and let us know that's what they want to know, we'll definitely find out," said Gainey.

This morning, covered roads made for a tricky morning commute for some. Along Fort Duquesne Boulevard and Liberty Avenue, the street was still full of slush and snow overnight. In Pittsburgh's Brookline neighborhood, Rossmore Avenue and surrounding streets were still buried in snow, making it very dangerous to drive on.

Rossmore Avenue Snow
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Brian Smithmyer)

"They always have an excuse," said Koslof. "Like I said, I could understand the beginning, it's a lot of work. That's fine. Come on. Come back at least 24 hours later. And it's like this all the time."


Along Methyl Street in Beechview and on surrounding streets, it was a similar scene to Brookline overnight, with snow and slush still needing to be removed.

Methyl Street Snow
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Brian Smithmyer)

On Pittsburgh's North Side, Beech Avenue appeared to be untouched.

Beech Avenue Snow
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Brian Smithmyer)

With snow piled up on the streets, some city residents worry it won't be cleared anytime soon.

"It's just frustrating especially because I don't have a four-wheel-drive car," said Rachel Felicion, who just moved to Brookline.

Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith says her phones were ringing off the hook from frustrated residents in her district. She's worked in City Hall since 2009 and remembers when the last administration invested millions into an entirely new snowplow fleet. The problem is it has yet to arrive in Pittsburgh because of COVID delays and supply chain issues.

"We know it's frustrating, we know it's difficult, we are trying our best, our crews are trying their best, we're having conversations on how we can have a more expedient response for the next snow, and I know they've heard that a million times before but I want to be honest, I don't think they're going to see a significant huge change from the city until all the equipment comes in," said Kail-Smith.

KDKA's Meghan Schiller asked Hornstein: "Is 24 hours to clear snow in Pittsburgh too long?"

"I mean that's a question for residents. I think that information would certainly inform recommendations that I have," said Hornstein. "From my perspective, where we sit and what we're resourced with in terms of personnel and in terms of trucks, that is the time frame that it takes to get there."

Residents tell KDKA's Meghan Schiller they believe 24 hours is too long and hope the city develops a solution to the maintenance and equipment issues in the interim, as it awaits the new fleet's arrival.

"Please just try to do a better job," Koslof said. "This happens all the time and people get frustrated. At least make an attempt."

To see who is responsible for clearing your street, click here.

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