While capital thaws, residents insist city remove remaining dangerous ice patches

Mayor asks for continued patience, announces comprehensive review of municipality’s shortcomings in recovery effort.

By
December 22, 2013 20:56
2 minute read.
Couple careful not to slip from what remained of the snow in Jerusalem as they try to cross the road

Couple cross road in snowy J'lem 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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As the capital continues to thaw with rising temperatures, dangerous untreated ice patches on sidewalks throughout the city continue to vex residents – particularly elderly ones – forcing some concerned citizens to take matters into their own hands.

Troubled by repeated sights of elderly residents slipping on ice near her Jerusalem neighborhood’s grocery store on the corner of Tchernichovsky and Herzog Roads, Becky Haendel decided enough was enough.

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“I became particularly concerned when I walked home from the supermarket Friday and an old woman attempting to walk to a nearby bus stop almost fell on the ice still on the sidewalk,” Haendel said Sunday. “This was almost 10 days after the storm and it was still really icy.”

Exacerbated by the situation, Haendel posted a message Saturday night on the municipality’s Facebook page detailing the problem, accompanied by a photo of the large ice patch in question. She received a response from the municipality, stating: “City workers are working overtime in order to deal with all of the storm’s damages.” But Haendel said she was dubious of what appeared to be a “generic answer.”



Haendel put down kitty litter herself in lieu of waiting for the city to respond, but by 6 p.m. that night, the ice was completely removed.

“This highlights the importance of people in the community speaking out and doing something when they see a problem,” she said. “I’m pleasantly surprised.”



Meanwhile, on Sunday afternoon, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat issued a statement saying he is formally initializing a comprehensive review immediately regarding the city’s shortcomings in addressing the unusual snow storm, which will be overseen by seven teams.

Although Barkat noted that before the storm landed the city prepared “in a professional manner to the best of its knowledge and experience,” he conceded that the unexpected “mini tsunami” rendered its resources nearly futile, forcing him to focus primarily on saving lives.

For the time being, the mayor called on all city residents to help assist in the recovery effort and remain patient.

“We would all like the city to return to normal within one day, but with this scale of destruction, recovery takes time and there is no magic solution,” he said. “The municipality will continue to work around the clock and augment teams to return the city to normal as soon as possible.”

Barkat said the city’s final analysis of the storm recovery will be completed and presented to the public in one week.

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