Sign the Petition for a Snow Removal Plan That Clears Streets for Walking

NYC needs a plan to keep streets clear for everyone, not just motorists. Photo: @jooltman
NYC needs a plan to keep streets clear for everyone, not just motorists. Photo: @jooltman

New York is a walking city. StreetsPAC wants it to function like one when a snow storm hits, and you can help.

The success or failure of the city’s response to a winter storm is usually gauged by the volume of motorist complaints. If drivers are satisfied, the mayor gets credit for a job well done.

Remarkably, there is no equivalent strategy for removing snow, ice, and slush from the pedestrian network. It’s up to property owners to clear the sidewalks by their buildings, but even if compliance is perfect (which it never is), that leaves a lot of obstructions, as plows pile up snow and ice by street corners and bus stops.

StreetsPAC has posted a petition calling for the City Council to develop “a comprehensive plan for improving snow removal” where people walk:

We’ve all encountered mountains of snow and ponds of slush when simply trying to cross a street, but what’s annoying for the nimble and able-bodied can be dangerous and impossible for the elderly, the disabled, young children or parents pushing strollers. Clear streets are not enough if they can’t be crossed by pedestrians!

“While the Department of Sanitation did its usual yeoman’s job of plowing and salting the city’s streets,” says StreetsPAC, “too much of that plowed snow ends up creating headaches for pedestrians, and for less able-bodied New Yorkers, dangerous and impassable obstacles.”

Now, about those subway stairs.

  • c2check

    I feel like we need to put down planks at corners to get across the piles of questionable snow+slush puddles, à la Venice during flooding. It’s treacherous and it’s often impossible to tell how deep a puddle is until it’s too late! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/564a02ba92a812c4b922a39bd9950c2072943d90c56e28908e623a3d94dfaec0.jpg

  • kevd

    public entities are nearly always the worst at removing snow.

  • Joe R.

    As I wrote elsewhere, we seriously need to make clearing sidewalks and curb cuts a municipal responsibility rather than depending upon property owners. An army of small snowblowers operating parallel to the plows on the streets could clear the sidewalks as rapidly as the streets.

  • bedazzzled

    Who do they hire to do this? Seems like you’d need a lot of manpower on short notice

  • Joe R.

    I’m not sure but I think the sanitation snow plows run with two-man crews even though they technically only need one person. Get the second person on the small snowplows instead. Or better yet, automate the plows. If we can automate drones, I’m not seeing why we can’t automate small snow plows.

  • Frank Kotter

    My best friend in college managed a crews in MSP who did just this. No contract, he would just pull up in a truck with all the tools needed and day laborers, homeless, etc. would show up, shovel, get cash handed out the window and be on their way. Sounded really shady but it was indeed official and worked pretty well.

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Today’s Headlines

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The Indignity of Walking After a Snowstorm (Gothamist, MTR, DNA) The Indignity of Riding the Bus After a Snowstorm (Advance) Montreal Has Pedestrian-Friendly Snow Removal Figured Out (NY Mag) Sanitation Department Had 920 Shovelers Clearing Sidewalks and Bus Stops (Post) It Was a Nasty Morning Commute for LIRR Riders Yesterday (WNYC) Of Course Rory Lancman Is Going […]