Design Monsters New Haven [Monsters]

Design Monsters New Haven

Paul Bass PhotosA crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the maiden voyage of the Snogo—one of New Haven’s new monster snow trucks—on Church Street Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, Dave Lawlor maneuvered an old-school eight-foot plow down Anderson Street more smoothly, and a day earlier, than he would have after storms in years past.

The fanfare downtown and the quiet moment in East Rock were connected.

They demonstrated the benefits of New Haven’s updated approach to tackling snowstorms.

The city moved Tuesday afternoon to the second phase of clearing streets in the wake of Winter Storm Juno—hitting neighborhood side streets like Anderson.

The storm dumped about a foot of snow rather than the predicted two to three feet. That was still enough to roll out 11 pieces of equipment the Harp administration purchased for heavy-duty storms after discovering last winter that its snow fleet was antiquated and insufficient. The pieces include the , 000 “Snogo, ” a souped-up 10-foot-wide snowblower that can fill a 40-foot truck with snow in six minutes. (Read a full story about that and the other new trucks here.)

The new trucks, a hit with public-works drivers, enable crews to clear main roads faster and more completely in big storms.

A second benefit: The big new trucks free up smaller trucks to get to narrow neighborhood streets sooner. Trucks like the Super Duty 550 that Lawlor piloted on East Rock’s Anderson Street (in photo).

“If we didn’t have the new trucks, we wouldn’t be hitting this stuff til tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, ” Lawlor, who’s 41, said from the behind the wheel.

In past storms, the department needed the small trucks for avenues like Whalley and Whitney and Dixwell. That took longer. And smaller neighborhood streets could wait days for a plow if a storm was big enough. “We’d have breakdowns” with the smaller trucks trying to handle major thoroughfares, recalled Lawlor. “It was terrible. With the new trucks, it’s a godsend.”

A small truck had already made a first pass on Anderson Tuesday before Lawlor arrived at 2:30 p.m., less than 24 hours after the storm hit in force. He noticed a second difference from past years: No cars were parked on the odd side of the narrow one-way street, or on other streets that were more congested in previous storms (like not-quite-odd-numbered-free Canner Street, as seen above through his windshield). That’s because of a second change this year: As part of a plan prepared this summer to learn from the mistakes of past storm operations, the Harp administration set out to communicate a clear citywide parking ban before the snow hit, then enforced it. (Read about that here and here.) Parkers in some parts of town still didn’t get the memo (or else ignored it). But overall plow-drivers like Lawlor encountered freer pathways to plow.

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