Council Action Requires City to Reveal Snow Plan

Warm weather is on its way, but two Bronx members of the City Council are making sure the borough is prepared next winter.

A harsh December blizzard, a record 37 inches of snow in January, and a couple of small storms in February made the 2010-2011 one of the worst winters in New York City history.

Unsatisfied with the efforts that Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Sanitation put into having the snow removed from the Bronx during and after storms, Councilman Jimmy Vacca and Councilwoman Annabel Palma were two of the most outspoken city officials during the dreary season.

On Wednesday, April 6, Vacca and Palma announced the passing of their co-sponsored bill that will make sure the city never repeats the ‘unacceptable’ response to the December 26 blizzard and other snow storms that crippled the city.

“Last December’s blizzard revealed how woefully unprepared the city was to deal with these kinds of major storms,” Palma said. “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.”

The bill, Intro 517, requires the DSNY to create and publish borough snow removal plans every year before the start of the snow season.

According to the bill, the plans must include: a complete list of primary, secondary and tertiary streets that must be available online, a strategy for removing snow from bus stops and curbs located at primary street intersections, contact information for agency personnel responsible for communicating with residents, elected officials and on-the-ground workers, and an inventory of snow management equipment and personnel by community district.

“During the December blizzard, we heard a lot of talk about tertiary streets and how they were the lowest priority for snowplows,” Councilman Vacca said. “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.”

On Monday, January 24, Vacca and Palma were joined by other members of the City Council at a Bronx Blizzard Hearing at Hostos Community College to listen to the issues that residents from all over the borough dealt with the during the snow crisis.

Vacca and Palma crafted the new legislation after over 30 hours of City Council hearings held in all five boroughs.

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