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Monday, April 11, 2011

Vacca and Palma Sponsor Blizzard Bill

It's hard to think about snow right now, with the weather outside hitting a sunny 73 and the Mister Softee trucks finally making their rounds through the neighborhood, but try to remember that post-Christmas blizzard that dumped two feet of snow on the city, leaving a string of stranded MTA buses--and perturbed residents--in its unplowed wake.

To avoid another snow fiasco like that one, Bronx City Council Members James Vacca and Annabel Palma sponsored a bill, passed last week, that requires the Department of Sanitation to prepare and publish snow-removal plans each winter for all five boroughs.

"Last December’s blizzard revealed how woefully unprepared the City was to deal with these kinds of major storms," Palma said in a press release.

The required plans must include a list of primary, secondary and tertiary streets (the terms the Sanitation Department used to classify blocks in order of plowing-importance) to be published online, along with criteria for each ranking.

"During the December blizzard, we heard a lot of talk about tertiary streets and how they were the lowest priority for snowplows. Well, tertiary streets are where taxpayers like you and I live, and many of us didn’t see plows until days after the blizzard was over," Vacca said.

"That’s unacceptable. This bill will put the City’s feet to the fire so that they are forced not only to have a plan but also to explain why they chose to have the plan they chose to have."

During this winter's blizzard, some outer borough streets and neighborhoods went unplowed and snowed-in for several days, to the frustration of those who lived there.

The new law also requires the Sanitation Department to provide detailed plans for removing snow from bus stops, an inventory of snow management equipment and personnel by community district, and contact information for personnel that residents and elected officials can call on.


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