D.I.Y. Snow Removal In East Baltimore

Residents of the unit block of South Robinson Street after an impromptu neighborhood digout. (COLLEEN PARIS JORDON)

Story originally posted at news.wypr.org on Jan. 28, 2016.

Some residents in East Baltimore did not heed the pleas from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to be patient as city crews work to clear streets after the biggest snow storm in city history.

Individually or, in some cases, as a block, people shoveled their streets out.

Mark Pash shoveled some snow from the street after clearing a parking spot for himself and his neighbor on Foster Avenue in Canton.

He said if people shoveled their own streets it would “probably get it done cheaper” than if a city plow was sent to his block.

Another resident on the block, Sarah Rohrbaugh, said the snow would “never” get cleared if she waited for a snow plow.  She wasn’t the only one who decided not to wait for the city.

Eric Jordon posted a message to Facebook Tuesday asking his neighbors in the unit block of South Robinson Street if they were interested in digging out.

He said the last straw was “seeing that we weren’t getting plowed.”

“Seeing plows come down Baltimore Street; go up Lombard.  It’s like ‘OK, if nobody’s coming down here, might as well go ahead; get the ball rolling ourselves and do everything,” he said.

And no sooner had he started organizing the work, a snow plow showed up. But it got stuck in the middle of the street. After attempting to enter the street a second time, the plow driver gave up.

“He was like ‘yeah, it’s too much snow; we gotta get a Bobcat out here so…I pretty much have to leave.”

At least fifteen people cleared snow from the block in about four hours.

Meanwhile, Around The Corner

Residents in the unit block of North Curley Street also decided to do a neighborhood dig out.

“It started with about three of us going out to the street and starting to clear,” said Matty Woodruff.  “The neighbors just heard us outside clearing and playing music and having a good time and the rest came out.”

Woodruff said it took at least six hours to clear out the block in addition to the area between Curley and Potomac, dubbed “Green Alley.”

The site of various neighborhood gatherings became the site of a post-snow clearing party Monday; complete with snow bar.

Woodruff described the bar as “about four foot tall [at one point.]”

“It was a great place for us to store different beverages and be able to come out and have a great social gathering,” he adds.

Where Did The Snow Go

There were still a couple of piles of snows on the street after the Patterson Park residents finished shoveling.

Residents piled the snow into the alleyways or on the side of houses.

Jordon said he hopes a city snow truck does come to his block.

“I’m hoping they can take these mountains out,” he said.  “I’m kind of worried about what we can do about the alley way if somebody has to get through the alley.”