Chicago’s Snow Czar: ‘It’s A Tough Game Here’

CHICAGO (CBS) – City plows and salt trucks attacked snowy side streets Friday while making sure Lake Shore Drive remained clear for rush hour.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine talked with the man in charge of Chicago’s snow-clearing efforts to talk about residents’ high expectations.

Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Tom Byrne has had very little sleep in the last couple of days, but he was at Snow Command Friday to monitor crews.

“We’ll have trucks out tonight, we’ll have trucks out all weekend,” he said.

So far, people seem pleased.

“I’m really impressed, considering last year,” Sharon Johnson said.

Michael Collins agreed, especially compared to last February’s blizzard that stranded several vehicles on Lake Shore Drive.

Byrne was due to retire last year, but hit it off with the new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and decided to stay.

“This is a tough coach and it’s a tough game here,” Byrne says.

The “coach” stopped by Thursday night, to see how things were going — remembering well the big storm right in the middle of last year’s mayoral race and the critical questions which followed.

Then-Mayor Richard Daley had already said he was stepping down, unlike former Mayor Mike Bilandic who actually lost his job in 1979 following a botched snow-removal effort.

Since then, snow and politics have gone hand in hand.

In keeping with the new mayor’s transparency pledge, an online “Plow Tracker” program gives real-time locations of snow plows. The city said views of the application topped 25,000.

From a political standpoint, the stakes in snow removal are high.

“I think we did pretty well yesterday,” Byrne says.

More from Jay Levine
  • LOTD

    Give me a fuking break !!! Side streets in my whole neighborhood are terrible, there’s no excuse this late in the day!!!!! Certainly wasn’t a huge storm.

  • dumbwhiteburbanitesmovinginourneighborhoods

    @LOTD stop crying like a little btch. I bet your a white selfish ahole who thinks the world revolves around you. You probably just moved into the city and think you know what the hell goes on in Chicago. Go back to your burb and your driveway.

    • THHE Yard Ape

      @stupidni@@erwhotalkssh!t – YOUR neighborhoods?? I’m born and raised NW side you fuk and I can guarantee I pay “just a bit” more in taxes then ghetto trash like you, and asking to have a street plowed within 24 hrs. of a 5 in. snow fall isn’t much!!!!The one thing I like about snow, is that it’s easier to spot you filthy savages. Keep destroying your ‘hoods . and then crying about whitey you worthless MFers!!!!!

  • zarathrusta

    City must have done an OK job if these are the only comments.

  • Jess

    Here are some things to do if you are snowed in:

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