Seeking to show and tell how his administration is changing the way Pittsburgh works, Mayor Bill Peduto today handed out coffee and donuts to some hard working public works employees and declared the city had handled the first winter storm of his tenure well.
"I wanted to come out and say thank you," he told a dozen employees of the public works garage on Hamilton Avenue in the East End this afternoon, many of whom had worked 16-hour shifts through the night to plow and salt city streets.
Bringing them coffee from Make Your Mark coffee house in Point Breeze and doughnuts from Paddy Cake Bakery in Bloomfield, Mr. Peduto said the employees "knocked it out of the park" in their effort to keep city streets as free of snow and ice as possible.
"This is our first, and my first [as mayor] go around with a snow," he told the employees, "and we want to make sure of two things: number one, you've got the equipment you need to do your job and number two that we're working as a team. It's not gonna be that what's happening downtown is going to be separated from what's happening with the divisions" in the neighborhoods in public works.
"We're gonna try to do things a little bit different. We're gonna put your input into the solutions," he told them.
Mr. Peduto said that the three-day "pot hole blitz" he ordered this past week because of the plethora of pavement deterioration was a success. Nearly 3,000 pot hole request came into the city's 311 phone line, he said, which is a 50 percent increase over normal call volume.
Of all the pot hole requests, he said, the city knows from reports from the field that at least 50 percent of the pot holes identified by residents have been filled, and that that number may jump to as high as 80 percent by the time additional reports from public works employees role in.
This, he noted, despite the technical problems with the city's outdated 311 system that makes identifying, cataloging and tracking something as simple as a pot hole far more difficult than it would be if the city had a high-tech system - something he hopes to implement in the next year.
Even with that, he told the employees: "With the resources you have now, you hit it right out of the park."
Guy Costa, Mr. Peduto's campaign manager who is now his operations director overseeing public works, said the city had 35 trucks working all night on the streets dealing with the snow and ice, and about 25 out today.
"We have people out here working and everything is going according to plan," Mr. Costa said. "There's room for tweaking and we'll sit down to tweak it when we evaluate this storm."
Sean D. Hamill: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2579