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Snow Drifts From Park Snarl Life on Dead-End Street, Neighbors Say

By Benjamin Woodard | February 5, 2014 7:15am
 Snow drifts on Campbell Avenue have been especially bad this year, neighbors said.
Snow drifts on Campbell Avenue have been especially bad this year, neighbors said.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

WEST ROGERS PARK — Residents of the 7200 block of North Campbell Avenue normally enjoy living across from a large park on a quiet dead-end street on the Far North Side.

But after a winter that saw the city hit with 50 inches of snow and counting, living across from the wind-swept 13-acre Rogers Park has turned into a huge headache for residents after snow drifts buried their cars and even snow plows that came to clear the street.

The problem, they say, is particularly bad this year because the Chicago Park District didn't install a snow fence, as it has in years past.

"This is a lot of inconvenience," said resident Daniel Wolk, who described his home as sitting in the crosshairs of a "wind tunnel" that blows massive amounts of snow onto his street.

But Wolk and his neighbors say the fencing had been installed every year for a number of years up until two years ago. They say whatever cost savings was attained by not installing it was likely canceled out by the extra work of city snow removal crews.

"I do think it’s our local ward superintendent office who pays the price for the Park District’s error in judgment a few years ago," Wolk said. "The money [that] might be saved from not putting up a fence they lost many times over for having to bulldoze the snow here and dig out the snow plow — they’ve spent a lot of resources."

Resident Jeff Sangerman wrote a letter to Park District officials when the fencing first wasn't reinstalled, requesting that it return. He said he never received a response.

But Park District Spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said in an email to DNAinfo Chicago late last week that the snow buildup along Campbell Avenue was "an isolated incident resulting from unusually extreme weather conditions."

She said that the district "has generally not installed snow fencing for approximately four years" although she didn't give a reason why the fencing isn't typically used.

Molly Poppe, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Streets and Sanitation, said plows had been up and down Campbell Avenue several times and a tractor had been brought in to build a wall of snow along the park's edge.

She said the department was working with the Park District to stop future drifts.

But Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) said the "very narrow" street is difficult to keep clear of snow.

"We’re constantly on alert trying to keep that street open," she said, adding that she was looking into reinstalling snow fencing there.

Resident Christine Kreutz, 46, said she paid a private snow plower to dig out two parking spaces on her street.

She said she witnessed a school bus get stuck in the snow after the first major snowfall of the year last month.

"Put it back up," she said of the snow fencing. The park district "should do their part."