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Letter: Why Plow Theatre Parking Lot Before Roads? [UPDATED]

Befuddled resident pens letter which asks: Why plow the parking lot of a defunct theatre before roads residents need cleared in order to travel on?

Updated Friday 1:30 p.m.

The town plowed a parking lot on the Shakespeare Theatre grounds before plowing some town roads in order to clear a space for abandoned cars and excess snow, says a Stratford Councilman and Stratford Police Department employee.

"The parking lot on Elm Street behind the Nicoll Benjamin House (aka the White House) is used as a staging area, for abandoned cars and excess snow in extreme weather events," Councilman Matt Catalano (R-3) wrote in the comments below.

"The lot was plowed to provide a place to put all the cars that were abandoned during the storm," a SPD employee emailed Stratford Patch after reading the letter.

"Numerous cars were left in the middle of intersections and roads blocking plows and disabling other vehicles including 18 wheelers. The tow companies did not have enough room to accommodate so many vehicles so PW gave them a place to put them, the parking lot behind the 'White' house," the employee continued. "If these cars were not removed the roads could not be plowed."

But one resident, whose home apparently overlooks the parking lot in question, wrote in the comments below that "not one abandoned vehicle or any extra snow" was dropped in the lot.

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The original letter to the editor follow.

By Beth Daponte

Snowstorms have a way of showing how well prepared municipalities actually are for emergencies.

The blizzard paralyzed Stratford.

It also revealed the communications skills of our leadership, its priorities, and its planning abilities. I have one question, which I posed to the mayor’s office last Sunday.

On the Sunday after the blizzard, my daughter and I put on my snowshoes to trek to my mother’s condominium, about a mile from my house in the Historic District.

At that point, while state roads had been cleared, with the exception of private plows that had cleared the Saint James parking lot and a small part of Broad Street, no plow had entered the 16-block area bounded by Main Street, Stratford Ave, Ferry Boulevard, and East Broadway.

Snowshoes prevented us from sinking irrecoverably into the snow as we made our way up Academy Hill. Coming down the hill on Elm Street, we could see that Elm Street, south of Stratford Ave, had been plowed. After we crossed Stratford Ave., we walked down Elm a little and turned to our left, alarmed at the sound of large plows.

The town was clearing the parking lot behind the Shakespeare Theater white house! Large trucks worked hard on assuring that all snow was cleared! Was a show going to happen on Sunday night? Who was playing? Was this a joke being played on the folks behind the initiative to re-open the theater, many of whom live in the Historic District?

From my mother’s home, I called the mayor’s office to ask why my street hadn’t been plowed yet, and the nice woman responded with the reason such as an unprecendented storm, yada, yada, yada.

I asked “but why are they plowing the Shakespeare Theater parking lot?” She seemed as dumbfounded as I.

So, I ask this question. Why, when many in the town were still snowbound, was the parking lot of an unfortunately defunct theater being plowed? I have walked by there since, and haven’t seen any activity happening in the parking lot.

[To submit a letter to the editor, email Stratford Patch editor Jason Bagley at jason.bagley@patch.com.]

The Stig February 15, 2013 at 01:02 PM
During our last rough winter in 2011 the town used the theater lots to dump truck loads of snow when there was seemingly nowhere else to put it.
fairfield newcomer February 15, 2013 at 01:16 PM
But before streets are plowed, this is an excuse as to why it was done not a valid reason.
Patricia Pell February 15, 2013 at 02:40 PM
No... you are both wrong. It is because the south end of Stratford doesn't count. It is a low income area that is ignored on many counts... this is just another.
Kerry Newcomb February 15, 2013 at 03:07 PM
My first thought is that it was a place where the large amounts of snow can be dumped?
David February 15, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Is there on-street parking in that area? Could it be the town was making an area where people who needed to ditch a car can park it? Should the town make on-street parking illegal between 4am and 5am? Start area by area, street by street giving people time to figure out where to park their cars. Get the cars off the streets and make the plowing easier.
palmerp February 15, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Frankly, I'm tired of hearing that the south end was ignored and blaming it on income levels. We live in the north end right off a main road and weren't plowed out until MONDAY night. What's the excuse for that?!
Matthew Catalano February 15, 2013 at 03:43 PM
The parking lot on Elm Street behind the Nicholl Benjamin House (aka the White House) is used as a staging area, for abandoned cars and excess snow in extreme weather events.
Mike Reynolds February 15, 2013 at 04:06 PM
See! There is a rational reason why this was done. Too many people in this town have to know everything that's going on. How about this...Mind your business and take care of you and your family.
mec1140 February 15, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Or how about this? The people answering the phones should have the information they need to give citizens viable answers to their questions. We have the right to ask whatever we want....and if my elderly mother was snowbound, I would want to know why Shakespeare was being plowed out. No crime in that.
Michelle G February 15, 2013 at 04:48 PM
I agree with you mec1140. we have the right to know. Mike Reynolds has no justification saying what he said. We DO have the right as we are taxpayers in this town and have the right to know.
Ann B February 15, 2013 at 05:47 PM
If that was the case, why didn't the town notify the residents. Many of them might have parked there instead of getting there cars towed, and now have a fine to pay. They have many fields throughout the towns to dump snow, AND you don't need to plow before you dump the snow.
Laura Dobosz February 15, 2013 at 06:42 PM
I agree
Laura Dobosz February 15, 2013 at 06:54 PM
I really, really do not want to pick sides here, but having read all of these posts and having witnessed how Milford has handled this storm? I just have to (I'm sorry!!) I have to say that John Harkins simply did not handle this well. 1.He was all but absent in the media, save a few cameos on 12. Not good enough. 2. Neighboring cities and towns (Milford and W Haven to start) got state and federal aid long before Stratford. To the point that it was embarassing. 3. Ummm John? What's up with this proposed cut to Stratford for 2014, per Malloy? $176,000 cut. Any thoughts? Why??? John? Dan? Bueller???
David February 16, 2013 at 09:11 AM
Opportunists. Wasting our resources for their political agenda. Next time spend more time helping and less time being a tattle tail or whiner. I have a lot of reasons I don't like the politics of our Governor, you don't read me taking the opportunity to bad mouth him. I have nothing good to say or bad to say about our mayor in this. He did his job, the police, town and everyone running the show did there job. Stop your whining.
David February 16, 2013 at 09:15 AM
I'm going to correct one statement... the mayor doing his job, did a good job. Stopping trucks from running during 80mph winds was the right call. Using the information calls was the right thing (I got at least 5 or 6). So I do have good things to say about him. I can't tell you if I am for or against at this point and will not take the opportunity to use this crisis for my political agenda.
Patricia Clark Sperling February 16, 2013 at 06:38 PM
David ~ here you go again. The problem with all of it is that you obviously don't see that people have a right to speak out. Let's all just sit back and drink the kool-aid that is given to us by the politicians on both sides while some of us look through our rose-colored windows. We have a right to speak out about this and anything any and all politicians do that we find unacceptable. That's how change is forced to occur. Believe it or not.....
Patricia Clark Sperling February 16, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Matt ~ you know that I have more respect for you than most of Stratford's politicos. On this, though, I though there was a major malfunction. When complete neighborhoods are forgotten until Tuesday, while things like this happened on Sunday leaves lots of questions. I have heard from MANY that the DPW yard ran out of diesel fuel - people who were told directly by PW workers when they finally got around to their streets, streets marked as plowed when, in fact, they weren't. That, in my opinion, is a major snafu. This isn't the first time it's happened - so it's not just the unprecedented amount of snow. It's that the system in place does not work. Unfortunately, you and I both know how the administration works. Speak out against them, you're screwed. Doesn't matter what party you are with.
jj February 17, 2013 at 01:56 AM
mon night wasn t to bad i saw the first plow on my street wed morning at 5 00 am
David February 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Patti you have the right to speak out. Others have a right to call you out.
Patricia Clark Sperling February 17, 2013 at 01:42 PM
David ~ call me out on what? Being honest? Trying to get the truth out there. I'm glad you finally admitted, in a comment to my letter, that the DPW did, in fact, run out of fuel. Glad to see they had enough to do the parking lot though! You politicians disgust me!
Walt February 17, 2013 at 04:37 PM
You heard from someone who heard from someone that a friend said that he was told by a person who said that... were you there? Just not true. Stop with the no fuel fantasy.
Patricia Clark Sperling February 17, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Oh Walt ~ how I wish it was just a game of telephone, but it was not. David, one of the commenters here has admitted that the DPW ran out of fuel. So, he is obviously "in the know." However, he just won't admit when - but we do know that it was Saturday night. If our Town had GPS on the trucks, which the residents could track in the storms, all of this would be out in the open now. But, as we both know, this IS Stratford - land of smoke and lies by the administration (and it does not matter what party).....
David February 17, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Patti- your writing is about conspiracy theories(plowing was Favorited to people) , political statements (this politician is better than another), affluent/entitlement complaints (plowing is based on taxes) and you use of half stories trying to prove all of these complaints (half because they are missing a lot of facts and are second or third hand). A lot of people on the forum have called you out as a opportunist. Sure sounds like someone taking advantage of a bad storm to voice their political agenda. The GPS idea is ok, but not really sure that's necessary. Do we not trust the drivers where we need big brother? Do we really need to make the town people big brother? I think I can trust a driver announcing what roads they complete and a scheduler checking off the roads for completion. Again the GPS idea is sounds like someone wants to prove a conspiracy. If they put GPS in trucks, the next thing you'd want is a live feed, if you didn't have that feed, you'd demand it because you didn't trust them still. A GPS in vehicles helps with coordination scheduling on buses/car and monitoring delays where balance can be introduced. If we assume the drivers are honestly trying to complete their tasks timely, then we really don't need a GPS in the trucks. Sorry I've not bought into the conspiracy. Doesn't sound like honesty. Sounds like like someone has lack of trust (a different brand of cool aide.) Wasting resources for a conspiracy which doesn't exist.
David February 17, 2013 at 05:30 PM
I heard through the grapevine that the town ran out of diesel, I have no real facts relative to the town (did not admit anything) except we drove on Monday 12 noon to four stations and they were all out of diesel. We also were told by 3pm Monday diesel was to be in the stations.
Not so common sense February 17, 2013 at 05:32 PM
patti I got a bridge to sell ya in Brooklyn stop being so gullible
David February 17, 2013 at 05:36 PM
BTW - at this point, I will promise to be willing to say I am wrong to any position I posted if proved wrong, but I've heard no facts which make me think the town did anything wrong in their handling of the crisis. So I will say thank you back to the town management and ask that they review the posts for ideas. The town was not heartless.
Not so common sense February 17, 2013 at 05:46 PM
maybe gas stations were, but DPW has their own.
Stella Luis February 19, 2013 at 12:05 PM
FYI. The Stratford Housing Authority plowed their own streets early Tuesday A.M. The Town of Stratford NEVER did them!!! The Town never did any side streets in that area until Thursday. Just imagine, if we waited for the town of Stratford, residents would be snowed in for almost a week in the south end.
ben February 20, 2013 at 02:25 AM
i love that youre username is the stig, Top Gear fan?

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