Friday, February 5, 2010

City Prepares for February Snowstorm

The city of Richmond is preparing for another significant snowstorm. The National Weather Service predicts the storm could leave up to 6 inches of snow on city streets.

Ahead of the pending snow accumulation the city is providing this information to local residents.

  • All priority one and priority two roads will be cleared within 48 hours.
  • Be cognizant of signs posted in designated Snow Routes. Parking is prohibited in those areas and towing will be enforced (see below list of routes).
  • When your street is plowed, there is a chance your driveway will become blocked. It is not the city's responsibility to remove that blockage.
  • If your mailbox is damaged during plowing, please report it to our Customer Care Center at 3-1-1.
  • The city will begin assessing potholes immediately following the snow event. Before asphalt is applied to potholes, the temperature must be above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Last week's snowstorm was an unusual occurrence for Richmond. The administration appreciates the patience and understanding displayed by residents. The city will continue to make the best use of its resources to ensure timely removal of snow during future inclement weather events.

The following is a list of major streets, which have permanently installed snow emergency route signing to restrict parking during snow removal tasks. These are considered the snow emergency routes, which will receive priority for snow clearance/hauling.

1) Broad Street (both sides), between Belvidere Street and 2nd Street
2) Broad Street (south side), between 8th Street and 14th Street
3) Broad Street (north side), between 12th Street and 8th Street
4) 8th Street (west side), between Leigh Street and Cary Street
5) 8th Street (east side), between Broad Street and Main Street
6) 7th Street (east side), between Canal Street and Marshall Street
7) 7th Street (west side), between Canal Street and Broad Street
8) Franklin Street (south side), between Stuart Circle and 9th Street
9) Franklin Street (north side), between Adams Street and 6th Street
10) Main Street (south side), between 25th Street and Belvidere Street
11) Main Street (north side), between 21st Street and Belvidere Street
12) Cary Street (south side), between Laurel Street and 10th Street
13) Cary Street (south side), between 13th Street and 14th Street
14) Cary Street (south side), between Thompson Street and Boulevard
15) Marshall Street (south side), between Belvidere Street and 5th Street
16) Semmes Avenue (both sides), between 19th Street and Forest Hill Avenue
17) Mechanicsville Turnpike (both sides), between Fairfield Avenue and Cool Lane
18) Chamberlayne Avenue (both sides), between Westminster Avenue and Azalea Avenue

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

City Cold Weather Overflow Shelter/Day Warming Shelter Weekend Schedule

Due to the weather forecast for the weekend, the city of Richmond has extended the Cold Weather Shelter hours to begin at 6:00 p.m. instead of 7:00 p.m. starting Friday, February 5 - Sunday, February 7, 2010. The Conrad Center will also open as a Day Warming Shelter Friday through Sunday.

The following accommodations will be available February 5-7, 2010:

Cold Weather Overflow Shelter:

The Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will be open February 5-7, 2010. The location is the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, 14 W. Duval Street.

The hours of operation are:
6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Friday, February 5, 2010)
6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Saturday, February 6, 2010)
6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Sunday, February 7, 2010)

Day Warming Shelter:

The Conrad Center located at 1400 Oliver Hill Way will serve as a Day Warming Shelter.

The hours of operation are:
6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Friday, February 5, 2010)
6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Saturday, February 6, 2010)
6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Sunday, February 7, 2010)

NOTE: The Conrad Center will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner Friday through Sunday.

The City will provide transportation to and from the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter and the Day Warming Shelter Friday evening through Sunday evening.

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Venture Richmond Funds Portion of City Slave Trail Marker Project

Venture Richmond pas provided $50,000 in funding for the city's Slave Trail Marker Project. The project is fully designed and has received approval from the Urban Design Committee and the Planning Commission with installation expected in late 2010.

"I am very pleased that Venture Richmond is partnering with the city of Richmond on this very important project," said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. "It is my hope that this project will bring a renewed sense of history and culture to Richmond residents. I look forward to other public and private collaborations of this nature as we remember our unique history and work to Build a Better Richmond."

"We believe this project will be a very important addition to the Riverfront Canal Walk historic exhibits and the recently completed Virginia Capital Trail historic exhibits." said Jack Berry Venture Richmond Executive Director. "An expeditious installation of the markers will also provide an important step in preparing Richmond for the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and End of Slavery."

The Slave Trail is a walking trail that chronicles the history and trade of enslaving people from Africa and their arrival and entry into Virginia and to other locations in the Americas. The trail begins at Ancarrow's Landing and follows the same route traveled by slaves to Lumpkin's Slave Jail and other establishments in downtown Richmond.

The city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities offers guided walks on Richmond's Slave Trail each Saturday during February, which is African American History Month. The walks are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and are based on demand. There is a $5 per person fee for the walk.

Please register in advance by calling the James River Park at (804) 646-8911.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

City to Hold Monthly Foster Parent Orientation on February 23

Have you ever thought about fostering a youth but did not know where to begin? Well, look nofurther because the city of Richmond Department of Social Services has the answers to your questions. On February 23, 2010, at 6 p.m., the department will host its monthly foster parent orientation that will describe in detail what it takes to become certified as a foster parent. The orientation will be held in the department of Social Services downtown office at 900 East Marshall Street.

We are looking for people just like you who can provide a safe, comfortable, and caring environment. We need foster parent who can provide recreational and enrichment activities that promote healthy development. We also need parents who can attend to the every day ups and downs that children experience. If you feel you can provide these basic needs, then you are well on your way to being the best foster parent that the children in the city of Richmond deserve.

Light refreshments will be served. Those interested in attending should call 646-KIDS by February 22, 2010.

For more information on the city of Richmond's monthly Foster Parent Orientation please contact Yvette Perkins at 804.646.5920 or Yvette.Perkins@richmondgov.com.

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Mayor and CAO Provide Update on City Snow Removal, Preparations Being Made for More Winter Weather

Mayor Dwight C. Jones and the city's Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall held a news conference today to discuss the city's response to snow removal. Citing that all priority one and priority two roads are clear and passable, Jones noted that secondary and residential road work is continuing and that the city is working with contractors who are utilizing the solid waste routes as guidance for the order that clearing is taking place.

Jones noted that the reduction in the city's fleet, which took place in 2004-2005, has had unintended consequences on the city's response time, now that the city has faced the highest snow totals since 1999-2000. The previous fleet reduction resulted in the sale of 17 dump trucks and 19 four-wheel drive pick-up trucks. Those vehicles, a significant asset to the snow removal program, were not replaced. As a result, the response time per route increased from 45 minutes to a minimum of 90 minutes.

"The reduced fleet, as well as personnel cutbacks, along with freezing cold temperatures, has impacted the city's response time to the recent winter storm," said Mayor Jones. "What is clear to me is that it is imperative that we equip the city with the vehicles, machinery and supplies that are needed to perform the necessary functions and provide timely and efficient service to the residents of the city of Richmond."

The Chief Administrative Officer laid out a number of steps the city is taking:

  • Snow removal crews will begin plowing at a 2" accumulation, instead of the current 3" accumulation.
  • The Administration will institute a policy of clearing all priority one and priority two roads within 48 hours.
  • The purchase of 4 highway plows; 12 tailgate spreaders; 4 dual edge reversible plows (barrel trucks) has been authorized.
  • A complete inventory of all city drivers will be conducted to determine the needs and qualifications for equipment operation.
  • City inspectors will be provided with four-wheel drive pick-up trucks capable of maintaining a plow and spreader for snow removal. The city will cease purchasing sedans for inspectors, as they are not feasible for alternate use in inclement weather.
  • Enter into agreements with existing city contractors and others who possess heavy equipment to augment city snow removal forces.
  • Purchase plows and spreaders to be placed on loan to new or existing city contractors to facilitate snow removal.
  • Make sure the pending new fleet of 23 solid waste trucks can be fitted with plows to complement the snow removal effort.
  • Cross train equipment operators in the departments of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities and Public Utilities to augment snow removal forces.
"The city has faced significant challenges during this latest period of snow removal. The planned changes in our removal plan, as well as the purchase of necessary equipment will better position Public Works crews during future snow events," said Marshall.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Two-hour Delayed Opening for Non-Essential City Workforce

Non-essential employees for the city of Richmond are advised that the city will open with a two-hour delay on Tuesday, February 2, 2010.

Employees should contact their immediate supervisors with any questions.

City Cold Weather Overflow Shelter Open Through Sunday, February 7

The city's Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will open tonight, February 1 and remain open through Sunday, February 7, as overnight temperatures are forecasted to remain at or below 35 degrees. The city's Cold Weather Overflow Shelter is located at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, 14 West Duval Street. The hours of operation are from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Single adults needing overnight shelter are asked to report to Commonwealth Catholic Charities Central Intake, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a comprehensive intake and referral to the appropriate shelter. Central Intake is located at the Freedom House Conrad Center, 1400 Oliver Hill Way, next to Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and Richmond City Jail. Residents may call the Freedom House Conrad Center at 648-4177. Central intake will provide a referral to the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter for individuals who are not eligible for an existing shelter or if all available beds have been filled. Residents in need of shelter after Central Intake has closed should proceed directly to the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter at 7 p.m.

The city's Department of Social Services (DSS) will accept applications now through March 15 for crisis fuel assistance at 900 East Marshall Street, Monday through Friday; from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can also call the Fuel Line at 646-7046. DSS also provides emergency assistance with disconnection notices of gas and electric for residents who qualify.

If you are elderly or disabled, you can also contact Senior Connections for assistance at 343-3000, Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Snow Removal Ongoing Throughout The City

The Department of Public Works is making significant progress in the removal of approximately 11 inches of snow that blanketed the city just 48 hours ago. "The primary roads are about 60 percent complete," said Director Dexter White. By Thursday White said he expects the majority of the roads to be clear of snow, though ice may continue to present a problem as temperatures dip during evening hours.

White said while the focus is to continue clearing primary and secondary roads, city crews and three contracting companies are also plowing residential roads. They are working through neighborhoods using the city's solid waste collection routes. Solid waste collection has been delayed by one day to give crews a chance to plow the roads ahead of pick up schedules.

The city has been compared to neighboring counties with regard to snow removal. White said unlike those counties, Richmond is an urban setting made up of thousands of lane miles, including the primary, secondary and residential roads. "We have more traffic, as well as on-street parking in areas such as The Fan and the Museum District, which makes it more challenging than plowing rural roads and highways." In addition, he said the three major snowstorms that have rural roads and highways." In addition, he said the three major snowstorms that have pummeled Central Virginia since March 2009 have put a strain on the city's aging fleet, which has resulted in the need for more repairs and maintenance throughout storm clean-up efforts.

City officials are asking residents to be patient as resources are continuing to be deployed for this effort.

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

City Trash Pickup Schedule Delayed

The city of Richmond will delay this week's trash pick-up schedule by one day as a result of road conditions following the winter storm. Monday's trash pick up schedule will be delayed until Tuesday, February 2, 2010, with each subsequent trash pick-up schedule following a one-day delay in service.

City Overnight Shelter and Day Warming Shelter Information

The city’s Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will open tonight, January 31, as overnight temperatures are forecasted to remain well below 35 degrees. Due to the weather conditions, the shelter will open one hour earlier on Sunday and operate from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The city’s Cold Weather Overflow Shelter is located at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, 14 West Duval Street.

The Freedom House Conrad Center will serve as a daytime shelter on Monday, February 1, 2010, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Freedom House Conrad Center will serve lunch each day it is open. The Freedom House Conrad Center is located at 1400 Oliver Hill Way, next to Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and Richmond City Jail. Transportation between the daytime warming shelter and the overnight shelter will be provided.