Yesterday's snowfall – while thankfully not the blizzard that many outlets predicted – served as yet another reminder that New York City lacks a comprehensive system for clearing snow from intersections, crosswalks and catch basins.
While the Department of Sanitation did its usual yeoman's job of plowing and salting the city's streets, too much of that plowed snow ends up creating headaches for pedestrians, and for less able-bodied New Yorkers, dangerous and impassable obstacles.
As LTV Squad's Joseph Anastasio pointed out a year ago, snow removal at intersections falls into a responsibility black hole, and too many property owners skip shoveling their sidewalks because fines are low and enforcement is almost nil. He offers up a plan that largely puts the onus on the citizenry, which may or may not be the best plan – but at least it's a plan! And here are three suggestions from Streetsblog's Ben Fried for improving upon the current situation.
Given its role in creating laws, the City Council needs to tackle this nagging problem head-on. Sign the petition to ask the Council to initiate a comprehensive plan for improving snow removal in New York City.
To the New York City Council:
New York City needs a comprehensive snow-removal policy!
While the Department of Sanitation does an excellent job of plowing streets, the city has no equivalent process for clearing intersections, crosswalks and catch basins. 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!
We, the undersigned, urge the Council's Transportation and Sanitation Committees to craft an overhaul to the laws governing snow removal.
Photo: Joshua Bright for The New York Times