Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
City Council

Blizzard of Discontent

10:48 AM EST on January 3, 2011

We haven't had the full reckoning promised by the City Council yet, but it seems safe to say that a few things contributed to the uproar over unplowed NYC streets over the holidays: 1) There was a lot of snow; 2) the Bloomberg administration didn't declare a snow emergency, and 3) apparently many motorists could have used the official government declaration telling them not to drive in a fierce blizzard, because stuck and abandoned cars made it harder for plow crews to do their jobs.

There didn't seem to be much reflection, however, about the complications caused by driving and parking during an extreme snowstorm. In fact, as you can see in this rant by Council Member David Greenfield, who took umbrage that the Ocean Parkway malls got cleared so people can walk or bike in his district, some elected officials weren't above using the occasion to take a swipe at the city's bike policy.

The "blame bike lanes" instinct also surfaced at the Post and the Daily News, both running indignant opinions about bikeways getting cleared of snow. They may be pleased to hear that the Prospect Park West bike lane is impassable for cyclists.

One of the ironies here is that some anti-bikeway types, including opponents of the PPW bike lane, have claimed that snow clearance would be an Achilles' heel of the new, physically separated facilities. In the eyes of the opposition, NYC's bikeways are damned if they get plowed, and damned if they don't.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Popular Fort Greene Open Street Fizzles After City Pulls Support

DOT reassigned its contractor, and this open street — which once hosted rollicking dance parties — is history.

October 2, 2023

Monday’s Headlines: Thin-Skinned, Anti-Restler Mayor Edition

Under fire for how he handled the storm, the mayor found a familiar target: Brooklyn Council Member Lincoln Restler. Plus other news.

October 2, 2023

Two Paths Forward: Broadway Shows What Could Be on Fifth Avenue

It's time to widen Fifth Avenue's sidewalks and add a protected bike lane. Delays hurt everyone.

CYCLE OF RAGE: Even Cheap Souvenir Plates Fool NYC Speed Cameras — And Piss Off an Out-of-Town Man

You don't have to be SEXY to fool New York City speed cameras. You just have to pretend to be.

October 2, 2023

We Have the ‘End of Days’ Flooding Pics You Need Right Now

It's bad out there. How bad? Here is a citywide roundup from our staff ... and our friends on social media.

September 29, 2023
See all posts