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Why Doesn't Rockford Plow Local Alleys?

ROCKFORD – It’s long been known that the Forest City will first plow the main roads and then contract out the side streets. But that leaves residents with alleys to fend for themselves.
ROCKFORD – No, it's not a skating rink, this is how local alleyways look in the midst of this harsh winter.  “Hey, I can actually see pavement!"  That's actually a surprise for Casey Zellers, who's lived near the alley for the past eight years.

He says, “With the snow melting and refreezing, with the other tire tracks, you have these ginormous ruts that the cars just can't get through."

Zellers says dealing with his alley this winter has been, “it's almost impossible."

But it's also impossible for the Rockford street division to plow all 300 alleys. Mark Stockman explains, “Back in the late 70s early 80s, there were 160 employees in the street department alone and the city was much smaller. Well now we have 26 employees."

So Public Works depends on residents to take care of alleys themselves.  Stockman says, “Essentially an alley is, for all practical purposes, an extension of their own driveway...if everybody went out and cleaned their portion of the alley, there would be no problem."

Zellers knows the city won't take care of the problem and luckily owns a plow himself.  He realizes that if he doesn't do it, no one will, “That's what a good neighbor's supposed to do is help them out"

But Rockford city officials also encourage neighborhoods to contract with their own plow drivers to clear their alleys.  Mark stockman with the street division also says that the only time they'll actually plow an alley is if a garbage truck gets stuck when picking up trash.
But he says that that doesn't happen as much anymore because some of their trucks are now equipped with their own plows.
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