Davenport Changing Plow Plan Downtown - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Changing Plow Plan Downtown

Posted: Updated: Feb 12, 2014 10:47 PM

We have seen dozens of snow emergencies this season across the QCA. But changes are coming to the way they'll be handled in Davenport, sparked by a situation two Saturdays ago, when 44 cars were ticketed or towed downtown. Mayor Bill Gluba has gone on the record, saying, "Quite frankly, it was just poor judgement on the part of the city staff people and city employees and supervisors to allow that to happen."

Drivers were reimbursed, but city leaders say those tickets and tows are exactly what they don't want, as they try to bring more people into the city. And business owners agree. They want to see streets cleared of snow and ice, except during a time when it cuts into their business.

On a Wednesday afternoon, there are a handful of customers in downtown Davenport bars. But on a Saturday night, Amer Brankovic, co-owner of The Office, tells us, "Bars are pretty busy." And that was the case at The Office, Me & Billy and The Phoenix two Saturdays ago, at least until 11 o'clock. Beth Germain is the Assistant Manager at The Phoenix. She says, "We were completely full. As soon as somebody came in and said they're gonna start towing vehicles, and you have to be off the street, everybody cleared off and left. And we were dead and business went to hell."

Bad for this established business, and one just getting started in the already tough restaurant industry. Me & Billy owner Bill Collins says, "It's a tremendous impact if one or two or three cars get towed and people will, in my estimation, people will just avoid coming down here on any night that they feel at risk of having a car towed."

Business owners we talked to say customers already are. Something at odds with a big push by city leaders to make downtown a more attractive destination, and why they've instituted a new tow plan to help make that happen. Gluba says, "This seems to be an improvement hopefully over what we currently have."

It calls for crews to clear the same streets, but on different timeline. Plowing around the hospitality district from ten p.m to two a.m., then taking care of those streets after bars close, from two to 6 a.m. Something Brankovic says, "Is also giving us an opportunity to make sure our customers are satisfied with everything that's going on in the bar and outside on the streets. And also, that their car is not gonna be gone when they walk out at 11 p.m." Ensuring more people will walk in to downtown establishments.

Right now city leaders tweet, Facebook and alert the media when there is a snow emergency. Soon, they'll send out text alerts. And Public Works Director Mike Clarke says they'll put up LED light. Solar packs that can be remotely controlled on about 30 signs downtown.

"They're gonna be there," Clarke says, "Within linear eyesight of every intersection, every store front, so you won't be able to be in this downtown area without at least being within eyesight of one of these signs." He says engineers are still working out details as to how these would be manufactured and whether the city would do that, but says individually the components cost a few hundreds of dollars.