Some wrap up on the storm! Last week this time, we were in the tail end of the blizzard. There are various names for it – Snowpocalypse, Snowmaggedon, etc. I went with Snowmaggedon simply because it was a lot; I did not call it “Jonah” just because I was not giving in to the Weather Channel’s ridiculous naming conventions of winter storms (no, Weather Channel, these storms aren’t like hurricanes).
Of course, because the blizzard happened on a Saturday, it wasn’t a snow day that disrupted the workday. And, I had predicted no snow accumulation at all, a few days before the storm; I was shocked that, by 11am Saturday, 1/23/16, the thing was a blizzard and was going to be less than two feet. It wasn’t like I did math or anything, of course…
Anyway, I generally thought that the city did a decent job – the travel ban more or less got people off the streets; the MTA didn’t totally go overboard, even though removing bus and removing subways from exterior lines were measures that left everybody but Manhattan (well, more or less) without travel anyway. More specifically, however, on Facebook, I did gripe about how the street corners/crosswalks were in awful shape by Sunday evening, 1/24/16, and questioned who was responsible for that, since clearly no one anything.
On the Monday after the blizzard, 1/25/16, Gothamist had a good post on the problem at street corners/crosswalks. I agree that this is a yearly problem, but I ended up not e-mailing my city councilman about it, since the melting happened so fast by Tuesday, 1/26/16 (hitting more than 40 degrees, short of 50 degrees, Fahrenheit can do that easily). NY Times says that the job of clearing snow to the corners belongs to the property owners adjacent to that sidewalk, but I think that enforcement – in the form of hefty fines – is clearly not happening. Someday we have to figure this out in a better way, if only to ensure public safety. Sigh.
Also, the perennial question appeared to be who will the city leave behind/forget in the process of plowing. Given that this was a historic blizzard, I was curious, and lo and behold, it looked like Queens, the biggest borough, made the stink about how their neighborhoods didn’t get plowed (Staten Island came awfully lose, when I was watching the news late that Sunday night). I’m not going to belittle how Queens got buried, but considering how every mayor since John Lindsay has tried so hard to save Queens from snow, I do wonder why we haven’t figured out how to do better by now with Queens.
Bob Hardt over at NY1’s Inside City Hall’s blog, raised the point in his post about the plowing that, the city did a decent job and unfortunately, someone is going to be the last plowed, but the city ought to review and revise the plowing plan.
Then, the NY TImes covered how the city had a new plowing plan and that it clearly didn’t do that great a job for Queens. Apparently, after the December 2010 – day after Christmas mess which stranded a lot of us in south Brooklyn and the rest of the outerboroughs – Sanitation modified the usual plowing of primary, secondary, and tertiary streets, and used a so-called two level process, critical and sector. I thought the NY Times article was interesting for explaining the process, but didn’t quite fully explain what happened.
Frankly, I had no idea that Sanitation wasn’t doing their usual primary, secondary, and tertiary plowing during the blizzard. Then again, it sounds like a lot of finger pointing going on, so the city and the media might actually want to thoroughly investigate what happened and what might be a better system, so we don’t ended up leaving people buried and stranded again.
My theory – which is hardly based on any real scientific research on my part, of course – is that we’ll have more weird, wacky storms with the climate instability. We might want to learn to adapt somehow, but it sure is going to cost us…
Anyway, if we’re lucky, we might not see more snow for awhile yet? And, the snow was a generally better distraction compared to a lot of other bad news in the world.