'They need to do more': Downtown Davenport residents, businesses frustrated over snow removal and emergency notification

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Parts of the Quad Cities could see several inches of snow this weekend. It comes just days after another snowstorm left behind inches of snow and significant frustration for people who live and work in the downtown Davenport area.

A number of people who TV6 talked to say they are not happy with the work that was done or how the city notified them about the snow emergency.

“When the 11.5’’ came, it seems like it went away a lot faster than this one, “ Madison Fiorato, a leasing manager in downtown, said, comparing this weekend's snow storm to a snow storm in November.

Fiorato said she did not receive any alerts or messages from the city about Monday’s second snow emergency. The second snow emergency went into effect at 10 p.m. Monday so the city could work to clear the snow from the area.

“We just want to make sure downtown is safe and provide that extra service so that people can park in the winter,” Davenport’s Public Works Director, Nicole Gleason, said.

Gleason said notice of the second snow emergency was sent out Sunday morning, giving residents and patrons of downtown businesses a “36 hour heads up”.

Under Davenport city code the only notification required for a snow emergency is a post on the city’s website. Gleason said the city did more than that, and also sent out text message alerts and issued phone calls to residents letting them know about the issuance of the snow emergency. Fiorate said she is signed up to receive them, but didn’t.

“They should do more,” Fiorate said.

According to Gleason, the city also turned on blue lights in the downtown area to indicate a snow emergency and she also said city staff spent the hour prior to the snow emergency going into effect going into some downtown businesses to alert patrons they would be towed if their car was not moved.

“As we have extra resources, we try and do extra things but those really are just extra things,” Gleason said.

The purpose behind the second snow emergency for the downtown area, according to Gleason, is to help clear the snow and allow vehicles a place to park because “there is not enough green space to pile the snow.”

FIorato doesn’t think the work done Monday night into Tuesday was up to par.

"I feel like last time they did [a good job], but this time I didn't and it doesn't look as good this time,” Fiorato said.

Many curbs throughout the downtown area remain covered in snow, some with piles several inches high. Gleason said the city was forced to stop work an hour early Tuesday morning because of freezing rain, but told TV6 crews are continuing to remove some of the snow.

Dr. Jessica Johnstone is a chiropractor in downtown Davenport. She said, while she got an email alert about the snow emergency, she does not feel the city did enough to notify residents of the second snow emergency.

“Obviously not,” Johnstone said when asked.

The city of Davenport ticketed and towed 78 vehicles in violation of the city’s second snow emergency Monday night.

According to Gleason, the vehicles were left parked on streets throughout downtown.

Vehicles left on the road are given a $35 ticket from the city, in addition to the vehicle being towed to Fred’s Towing. Gleason says in order for car owners to get their vehicle back from Fred’s they are charged a fee.

“Fees from Fred’s are estimates because oversized vehicles can be charged more, but generally around $230,” Gleason said.

While Johnstone believes the city’s notification process was not good enough, she is glad to see that the city is ticketing and towing vehicles. Gleason said 20% of the cars towed Monday night were repeat offender.

"That makes me happy,” Johnstone said. “I have been here so many previous winters and there are cars lined up on the street and they are plowed in and no tickets and my patients cant park for several days."

Gleason said the city works with landlords and property managers to let them know about snow emergencies and encourages everyone to sign up for text and call alerts on the city’s website.

TV6 has requested a copy of all complaints sent to the city, but those have not been provided.

The city of Davenport said it puts a second snow emergency in effect for downtown when snow accumulation is four inches or more.