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Department of Sanitation

NYC’s Second Snow Day of 2024 Brings Clearer Bike Lanes

The bridge bike lanes were in better shape than last month.

Photo: Kevin Duggan|

The Brooklyn Bridge bike and pedestrian paths were largely clear by noon.

After promising to give equal priority to plowing bike lanes as motor vehicle lanes, city agencies did a better job at clearing the cycling paths on Tuesday as the second major snowfall of the winter hit the five boroughs. 

The Departments of Sanitation and Transportation hauled out their narrower plows to clear bike paths on the East River bridges and other key protected lanes — though some stretches refilled with slush or still had some white blockage as of midday. 

DSNY cleared streets across the city in the morning, according to Commissioner Jessica Tisch. Sanitation crews took care of “plowable accumulations” — i.e. two inches of snow or more — around 8.45 a.m. starting in the Bronx then fanning out to the rest of the city, Tisch said.

“We put salt on every street, every highway, every bike lane in the city, we've done multiple passes at it,” the Commissioner said at a virtual press briefing with Mayor Adams. 

During the last snowfall, In January, the DOT, which is responsible for clearing its bridge paths, left the spans in treacherously icy conditions for more than 24 hours. This time around the agency boasted on social media about clearing the Brooklyn Bridge bike path before sunrise.  

Closer to noon, the bridge’s walking and bike paths were both still relatively clear — though some slush had accumulated in Centre Street protected bike lane at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Centre Street bike path had been cleared, but was refilling with slush. Photo: Kevin Duggan

The nearby Manhattan Bridge also had largely clear bike lanes — thought it appeared as if bollards at the entrance ramp blocked DOT plows from clearing the entire space, rendering the path's steep entrance particularly treacherous. 

The Manhattan Bridge's steep bike lane entrance was not cleared. Photo: Kevin Duggan

The approach to the Williamsburg Bridge was also clear, photos on social media showed:

The Hudson River Greenway on Manhattan's West Side, meanwhile, seemed to be passable in the morning, according to a report by one Reddit user who rode the path between Chambers Street and W. 72nd Street. 

“It’s actually a lot better than it was last time I was riding on it. The city was prepared for this particular snowfall,” said the user, Dan, in a video posted on the NYCBike subreddit. 

Over in Brooklyn, the Prospect Park West bike lanes were mostly clear, as were those on the other side of the park on Flatbush Avenue, but the paths around Grand Army Plaza had some snow pushed into them, as seen here:

People approaching the north end of the Flatbush Avenue bike lane were greeted by a big mound of snow they had to navigate.Photo: Dave Colon

Here's what Prospect Park West looked like.

Prospect Park West was clear for bike traffic. Photo: Julianne Cuba

The mountable bike lanes on Grand Concourse in the Bronx were also clear — and for once not blocked by cars!

The "mountable" bike lanes on Grand Concourse in Mount Hope, the Bronx, were in good shape. Photo: Lucia Deng

The protected bike lanes over on Bronxdale Avenue were also mostly clear, Michael Kaess reported.

The Pulaski Bridge was better on the Brooklyn end than its Queens side for some reason, Bike New York found.

Sanitation will cycle through the bike paths with its plows at least twice, and prepare them to keep the roads from freezing overnight, agency spokesperson Robin Levine promised.

DOT has been out since the early morning clearing and treating its bridge bike and pedestrian paths, along with pedestrian overpasses, step streets, and walkways at municipal parking lots, said spokesperson Anna Correa.

The Citi Bike system remained open despite the inclement weather. Politico’s Jeff Coltin spotted someone riding one of the gray e-bikes. 

One major gaps in the snow clearing effort was pedestrian space, which is bizarrely the responsibility of individual property owners, who have between four and 14 hours to shovel their sidewalks depending on the time of day the flakes fall. 

This disparity became clear in a video Mayor Adams shot selfie-style outside a Queens school. In the video, Adams praised Sanitation for clearing the roads — even as sidewalks around him were still covered in snow. 

Officials will dispatch enforcement agents to make sure landlords have their frontage cleared four hours after the last flakes fall, to avoid icy paths as the temperatures drop Tuesday night, Tisch said.

"In the past two storms, we saw the sidewalks became pretty treacherous and we don't want to see that after this storm, especially given that tonight the temperatures are gonna go down below freezing and we could have flash freezes on the sidewalks," she told reporters. "We want those sidewalks safe tomorrow."

Additional reporting by Dave Colon and Julianne Cuba

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