Peter Frishauf

NYC Needs a Comprehensive Snow-Removal Policy

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.

SlushPuddleNYT.jpgWhile 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.

247 signatures


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

posted about StreetsPoll: February 2, 2017 on Facebook 2017-02-02 16:39:56 -0500
Take the survey: StreetsPoll: February 2, 2017

StreetsPoll: February 2, 2017

Happy Groundhog Day!

In the film of the same name, Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, keeps living Groundhog Day over and over again. Similarly, residents of New York City concerned about safe streets often wake to find themselves caught in similar time loops.

answered 2016-11-23 15:08:45 -0500
Q: Should New York City invest public funds in Citi Bike?
A: Yes

StreetsPoll: November 23, 2016

On Monday, November 28, the City Council's Committee on Transportation will hold an oversight hearing on the "present and future of Citi Bike." While Citi Bike's present seems rosy – it felt like a new daily ridership record was set every day in October – its future is less certain. Currently, there are no concrete plans for growth beyond next year's expansion into Phase II areas in Harlem, Astoria and parts of Brooklyn. The continued growth of New York City's popular bike-share system may well depend on some form of public subsidy.

Tell us what you think, and if you sign up for email updates, too, you could win a StreetsPAC t-shirt.

signed StreetsPetition: Matthew von Ohlen via 2016-10-19 13:46:42 -0400

StreetsPetition: NYPD – Release Details of the Investigation into the Death of Matthew von Ohlen

In the early hours of July 2, 2016, 35-year-old Matthew von Ohlen was struck and killed by the driver of a black, late-model Chevrolet Camaro as he was riding his bike home from work in Williamsburg's Grand Street bike lane. Police who reviewed surveillance video of the crash told WPIX TV that the driver appeared to slow down and steer into bike lane, intentionally striking von Ohlen before running over him and dragging him 30 feet, before speeding off. Von Ohlen died in the hospital not long after, the victim of severe trauma.

Four days later, the NYPD's 90th Precinct took to Twitter to announce that police had located the car involved in the crash. But that was the last public announcement made regarding the investigation into von Ohlen's death. More than four months have passed since.

The failure of the police to catch Matthew von Ohlen's killer fits a pattern. As Gothamist reports today, the NYPD has made arrests in just 34% of the fatal hit-and-run crashes that occurred in New York City between July 2015 and June 2016. When hit-and-run crashes in which the victim suffered an injury are included, the arrest rate drops to a meager 8%.

GOAL: 1,000 signatures


To NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill:vonohlennydn.jpg

Please order the NYPD's Collision Investigation Squad and 90th Precinct to release updated information regarding the July 2, 2016 crash that killed Matthew von Ohlen.

Police told WPIX TV and other media that the driver who struck von Ohlen appeared to do so intentionally, slowing down before steering into the bike lane in which von Ohlen was riding, and then striking von Ohlen and dragging him for 30 feet before speeding off.

On July 6, the 90th Precinct announced via its Twitter account that the black Chevrolet Camaro involved in the crash had been located, but that is the last bit of information the public has received about the case. That's unacceptable.

It's time for the NYPD to bring the public up to speed on the investigation. To whom is the car registered? Who was driving the car? Why has no arrest been made?

Matthew von Ohlen's family, friends and colleagues – and the public at large – deserve to know.

commented on Important Voting Deadline; Ken Thompson's Legacy; Grand Concourse Progress; StreetsPoll Results 2016-10-12 16:16:21 -0400 · Flag
Another important read from

@pfrishauf tweeted link to StreetsPoll: August 24, 2016. 2016-08-24 15:49:17 -0400

StreetsPoll: August 24, 2016

Earlier this month, the New York City Department of Transportation presented a "comprehensive safety plan" for the area surrounding Brooklyn's Times Plaza, the triangle that sits at the confluence of Flatbush, Atlantic and 4th Avenues. NYC DOT's ideas were well received, but so was an alternate concept for a traffic circle proposed by Perkins Eastman transportation and infrastructure architect Jonathan Cohn.

What do you think should be done at Times Plaza?

commented on More Vision, More Zero(es); Better L-ternatives; Rosenthal Recap; StreetsPoll Results 2016-07-29 16:41:29 -0400 · Flag
StreetsPAC …making a difference in a better NYC.

posted about StreetsPoll: May 25, 2016 on Facebook 2016-05-25 17:39:22 -0400
Take the survey: StreetsPoll: May 25, 2016

StreetsPoll: May 25, 2016

Last week, Mayor de Blasio and Motivate announced that not only will Citi Bike expand this summer in Manhattan northward to 110th Street, and into all of Brooklyn Community District 6 (Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus and Red Hook), it will do so with added density. What's more, existing Citi Bike zones on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side will get additional bikes and docks, bringing the total Citi Bike network to 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations by the end of 2016.

posted about StreetsPoll: April 27, 2016 on Facebook 2016-04-28 12:58:38 -0400
Take the survey: StreetsPoll: April 27, 2016

StreetsPoll: April 27, 2016

Last Friday, New York City celebrated it's first car-free Earth Day, pedestrianizing some Manhattan streets and encouraging New Yorkers who typically commute by car to opt for subways, buses, biking, walking, or other alternate transportation modes. City officials vowed that next year's car-free Earth Day would build on the original. Tell us which option would do the most to accomplish that, and if you sign up to receive email updates (you can unsubscribe any time), you'll earn a chance to win a StreetsPAC t-shirt!