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Department of Sanitation

Eyes on the Street: The First (And Only?) Snow Report of the Year

9:09 AM EST on February 28, 2023

The snow is already starting to melt (damn, global warming), but we thought we would provide you with the first, and possibly only, road report of the winter.

Conditions were very good for a commuter (me) heading from Brooklyn's Windsor Terrace to Manhattan's Chinatown, but there were a few caveats (the biggest being: you call that a snowstorm?). Here goes:

First, a word about bus riders

Here's what happens because the city leaves sidewalk snow clearance to property owners: bus riders are more or less forced to stand in slush:

Stand in slush, bus rider!
Stand in slush, bus rider!
Stand in slush, bus rider!

On the roads

For the most part, painted lanes are more or less useless in even the smallest snowfall because a) drivers just toss the snow from their parked cars into the bike lane or b) the city doesn't plow close enough to the line of freely stored privately owned automobiles in the public right of way. Here's what that looks like:

On the plus side, however, anything involving the Department of Sanitation (and its new narrow snowplows) was something of a joy to behold:

Of course, whenever the Parks Department is involved, the goal continues to be to discourage cycling by making roadways impassable. This is only one picture I took, but other overlaps of Department of Transportation or Sanitation responsibility with the Parks Department revealed no interest from the Parks Department to encourage cycling:

In Grand Army Plaza, Parks left conditions slushy.
In Grand Army Plaza, Parks left conditions slushy.
In Grand Army Plaza, Parks left conditions slushy.

Fast acting DSNY

The lone bureaucratic snafu on my entire ride in was on Schermerhorn Street, where, clearly, some illegally parked car or truck had blocked the DSNY snowplow on first pass. I was about to pull out the 311 app, when that very plow appeared (as the sequence below shows):

The Brooklyn Bridge

The still relatively new bike path on the Brooklyn Bridge deserves its own section — and its own accolades. When I navigated the bridge at around 8:30 a.m., it was freshly swept: approach ramps on both sides were clear, the bridge was passable, and even Lake Gutman wasn't too bad (it's too warm for the old "bridges freeze before roadways" warning).

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