State of Emergency for City of Gary

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January 6, 2014 by Jerry Howard

The City of Gary is using its Public Safety Facility for a snow command center, formed by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, the Gary Police and Fire Departments, General Services and other city leaders, to address challenges brought by a roughly a foot of snow during the weekend and frigid temperatures to linger for the coming week.

The City of Gary says, “Effective immediately, we are declaring a State of Emergency in city of Gary until further notice so that our emergency, general services and other municipal vehicles can provide services to citizens.  This means that the only vehicles on the street should be emergency, service or municipal vehicles or those who need to travel to work and for other life-related purposes.  Lake County and surrounding communities have also declared a state of emergency.  If you need assistance, please contact 219-881-1260 or 219-881-1311.”

The City is sharing the following information with residents:

  • Residents are asked to please remain inside if possible to avoid getting stuck or stranded.
  • Towing is now in effect for all marked areas throughout the city.  Residents are asked to acknowledge where signage is posted and move their vehicles to avoid being towed.
  • All City of Gary buildings, with the exception of the Hudson and Campbell Fitness Center and the Genesis Convention Center, will be closed today.
  • City personnel and social service volunteers will be traveling throughout the city today in vans to identify individuals who may be homeless, without an adequate heat supply or transportation.
  • Additionally, warming centers are available, with 24-hour warming centers at the City of Gary Public Safety Building, 555 Polk Street and the Calumet Township Multi-purpose Center, 1900 W. 41st Avenue.  Other warming centers are the Hudson and Campbell Fitness Center, 455 Massachusetts, open 6:00 am – 9:00 pm today:   the Genesis Convention Center, 5th and Broadway, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm today:  the Salvation Army at 4800 Harrison Street, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm today.
  • Due to the inclement weather, trash pick-up and recycling pick up will be canceled for today.  A holiday schedule will be implemented beginning Tuesday, January 7, which means if you were scheduled for a Monday pick-up, then it will take place on Tuesday, etc. until all pick-ups are complete on Saturday, January 11, 2014.
  • Questions regarding trash pick-up should go to Waste Management at 1-800-796-9696.  For recycling, please call (219) 882-8445 ext.3.
  • For all other weather-related inquiries and non-emergencies, please call (219) 881-1311 or (219) 881-1260.

The City of Gary snow plan is in effect, as explained below:


The Street Department is responsible for snow and ice removal for more than 434.18 miles of city roads.  POLICY The City of Gary begins an all-out plowing effort whenever two (2”) inches of snow have accumulated and snow is still falling.  The primary goals of the City’s Snow Removal and Ice Control Plan are to maintain safe travel routes during the winter season as well as to restore mobility for the traveling public within a reasonable time frame following winter storm conditions.

Priority Plowing System:

The City has established a Priority Plowing system for our 434.18 miles of roadways.


Primary roadways are those adjacent to schools and leading to hospitals. Primary streets are generally considered main arterial and higher traffic volume collector roadways. Hills and bridges are included in this category.


Lower traffic volume collector roadways, residential streets and cul-de-sacs are in this category. During and after a storm, some streets may become snow packed as a result of vehicular traffic over un-plowed roads, wind and drifting conditions. All attempts will be made to reduce snow-packed situations. Snow accumulations impairing motorists’ sight distances will be monitored and addressed as needed.

City crews will plow one path (in/out) through every roadway to allow residents mobility as early as is practical in a storm. Crews will return later to finish pushing the snow back “close to curb” to clear storm inlets.


Alley conditions will be evaluated during heavier snow accumulations to determine if City assistance is needed to maintain mobility. Due to their narrow width, plowing alleys deposits snow on (and potentially causes damage to) adjacent structures such as garages and fences.

Driveways & Sidewalks:

These are the responsibility of residents and property owners. Residents should shovel snow into their yard, not the street. City crews try to avoid putting large piles of snow in front of driveways; however, this is not always possible. To avoid having to “double shovel,” citizens may want to wait until after their street has been plowed before clearing their driveway. Residents are also asked to clear snow around fire hydrants, meters and mailboxes to aid firefighters, meter readers and postal carriers.

Parking Lots:

All City parking lots (City Hall, City Annex, Health Dept,) will be plowed and salted as needed. Operations may be adjusted if the storm clean-up occurs on a weekend or holiday. Property owners are responsible for clearing commercial parking lots.

Parking Restrictions:

During winter storms of two (2″) or more inches, parked vehicles must be removed from posted Snow Routes to enable City crews to clear the routes properly and safely. Violators will be ticketed and towed.

School City will plow the Parking Lot at Horace Mann High School so that residences on 5th Ave can park in the lot, this will allow the State to open up 5th Avenue. Residence on the side streets in that area can also park in the lot allowing our drivers to open up side streets.

Employee Policy:

The men and women of the Street Department are on 24hr call during the winter months, from November 1, until April 1. As we monitor the weather forecast our employees are notified of any shift changes.


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