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

Eyes on the Street: The Snow Clearance Double Standard

Saturday's snowfall wasn't much of an obstacle for motorists on Columbus Avenue. But long after the car lanes were clear and dry, the protected bike lane was a sheet of white.

The cyclist in the above pic, taken at 104th Street, was one of many who chose to ride in motorized traffic instead of the snowy bike lane. Though it's been a decade since DOT added protected bikeways to its toolkit, the city still can't manage to consistently clear them of snow and ice. If the city fails to plow a bike lane before an extended cold snap like the one gripping New York right now, that segment of the bike network could be out of commission for days or weeks.

For the Sanitation Department, the cost of keeping the lanes passable should be minimal. "A pick-up truck with a rotating drum broom sweeper could easily average 10 miles an hour and clear all of Manhattan protected lanes in a half-day," writes our tipster.

Making matters worse, there's no surefire way to tell where Sanitation and DOT have cleared the bike lanes before you head out. While NYC publishes real-time GPS data so drivers can keep tabs on DSNY plows, people who bike and walk are left to guess what conditions they'll face after a winter storm.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Thursday’s Headlines: Paris is a Lot Cooler than NYC Edition

The City of Light has figured out how to reduce the heat island effect. Plus other news in today's daily digest.

July 18, 2024

Exclusive: Legal Team Announced for Suit Against Hochul’s Congestion Pricing ‘Pause’

Attorneys from three firms have inked a joint defense agreement to fight "the governor’s illegal decision to cancel congestion pricing," Comptroller Brad Lander said.

July 17, 2024

Brooklyn BP Wants Mayor Adams To Do More To Reduce Parking

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso's recommendation on City of Yes: Eliminating parking mandates is not enough!

July 17, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines: Citi Bike By the Numbers Edition

Haters of Citi Bike are really going to detest the new website. Plus other news.

July 17, 2024

Once Again, There is More Evidence that Safer Streets Help Local Business

...and there's more insight into why people simply don't believe it.

July 17, 2024
See all posts