UPDATE (1/25): This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Mayor James Cahill was out of town on “personal business” during the storm, and Business Administrator Thomas Loughlin was serving as Acting Mayor.
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–The city’s Acting Mayor declared a snow emergency in the Hub City, according to a Nixle alert issued by the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) at 12:27pm on January 23.
Most of the city is already under a foot of snow or more, as the first blizzard of the winter continues to bombard New Brunswick.
The declaration comes more than twelve hours after Governor Chris Chrisite declared a statewide “State of Emergency” and as other parts of New Jersey deal with related flooding and power outages.
“Motor vehicle travel is currently restricted to emergency responders and those workers who are directly responsible for ensuring the safety of the public through their employment,” reads the Nixle alert.
“This is to ensure the safety of both residents and emergency responders for the duration of the storm.”
New Brunswick Parking Authority has opened up for of its parking decks for free public parking (for city residents), and NBPD has towed cars that were left on snow emergency routes.
The city’s library is also closed today, according to Library Director Robert Belvin.
According to the NBPD Nixle alert, the travel restrictions will remain “until emergency conditions are over.”
Thomas Loughlin, the city’s Business Administrator, is filling in for Mayor James Cahill, who is out of town on “personal business.” Loughlin is the only local Mayor to specifically “restrict” travel, but many other towns have strongly discouraged it, or simply said to “stay off the roads.”
“Governor Christie has issued a STATE OF EMERGENCY,” reads a Nixle alert from Monroe Township. “UNLESS YOU ARE ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL, STAY OFF THE ROADS. Although streets are being plowed, visibility is near zero and snow is drifting making roads impassable.”
North Brunswick Township sent out a thorough alert to its residents that included updates and predictions:
A Blizzard Warning continues through 6 a.m. Sunday morning. Total snow accumulations of more than 2 feet.
The strongest winds and greatest potential for blizzard conditions will occur through this afternoon then the snow will taper off tonight and early Sunday morning.
A State of Emergency is in effect for the state. Please DO NOT travel due to extremely hazardous road conditions. Police have reported that Routes 1 and 130 are nearly impassable due to the combination of heavy snow and strong winds.
The following is important reminders for residents:
–> The Township’s operations center is open during the storm. Please call (732) 247-7272 for storm related information.
–> Please do NOT throw snow into the street when clearing your property. Township ordinance prohibits putting snow back into the roadways.
–> If you live near a fire hydrant, please help the Fire Department and your neighbors, by shoveling around the hydrant. This could be a life saving measure!
–> In case of power outages, please contact the utility company (PSE&G) directly at 1-800-436-7734. You can also visit their website at https://www.pseg.com/home/customer_service/outage_info/outage_grid.jsp. Please do not tie up police emergency phone lines with these calls. If you have an emergency, please call 911.
–> Please move all vehicles off the streets if possible in order for DPW crews to clean the roadways. They will be up working for you through the storm so it’s the least we can do to make their job a little easier. It also allows for wider paths in case of emergency traffic.
–> Residents who live on a designated Snow Emergency street must remove their vehicle from the street. Township Police will strictly enforce this no parking ban and cars will be towed for those who do not comply. A complete list of Snow Emergency and partial Snow Emergency streets may be found on the Township website at www.northbrunswicknj.gov and on North Brunswick Channel 15.
Stay warm, stay safe, stay home!!!
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.