After City’s Failed Blizzard Response, Palma and Vacca Pass Bill to Require Detailed Snow Plans
BRONX, NY – Council Members Annabel Palma and James Vacca today announced passage of a bill they co-sponsored to make sure the City never repeats the unacceptable response to the December 26th Blizzard, which crippled many Bronx neighborhoods. The bill, Intro 517, part of a broad package of reform legislation adopted by the City Council on April 6, requires the Department of Sanitation to create and publish borough-specific snow-removal plans every year before the start of the snow season.
The plans must include:
· A complete list of primary, secondary and tertiary streets, including the criteria the City uses to designate streets. This information must also be available online.
· A strategy for removing snow from bus stops and curb cuts located at primary street intersections.
· Contact information for agency personnel responsible for communicating with residents, elected officials, and on-the-ground workers.
· An inventory of snow management equipment and personnel by community district.
Council Member Palma said: “Last December’s blizzard revealed how woefully unprepared the City was to deal with these kinds of major storms. After reviewing the City’s response and hearing from residents at a number of post-blizzard hearings, we have put together a series of common-sense reforms that will ensure New Yorkers get the kind of response they deserve from their City government when inclement weather strikes.”
Council Member Vacca said: “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. 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.”
Palma and Vacca crafted their legislation after more than 30 hours of City Council hearings in all five boroughs, including an evening hearing at Hostos Community College on January 24th. Other elements of the Council’s snow-response package will require the City to:
· Create a registry where nonprofits and individuals can volunteer to help elderly or disabled property owners remove snow.
· Establish a system to notify New Yorkers of disruptions to government services, such as garbage collection, parking rules, and transportation services.
· Strengthen the 311 and 911 systems, and accommodate the use of private and volunteer ambulances.