Archive for the tag 'snow'

WTF, Weather?


weather

A streak of beautiful, if wet, weather saw flowers bloom over the past weeks, only to be crushed and killed – like our spirits – by a frost this morning.

It’s like the brutal, long winter wanted to give us one final kick in the rear on its way out.

Discuss.

Councilman Mark Treyger is pushing new legislation that would require snow plows to have flashing lights and a make beeping noises, following the plow-related deaths of two Brooklynites this winter.

The two victims were killed by plows within two weeks of each other. On February 3, an elderly man was struck and killed by a plow in Brighton Beach in front of the Oceana complex. On February 13, a pregnant 36-year-old woman was killed by a plow clearing out the parking lot of a Borough Park market.

Treyger’s bill, first reported on by the Daily News, will require plows to have lights and “a loud, distinctive noise” to let pedestrians know when a plow is approaching.

“You’re dealing with low visibility,” he told the paper. “If we can buy a few seconds for these pedestrians to give them time to react, this could save a life.”

The new regulations, however, would not have prevented the two deaths cited. Both were killed by private CAT-style vehicles repurposed for snow removal. Treyger’s bill only affects Department of Sanitation snow plows, and other plows contracted by the city.

The new rules might have helped the man who was knocked off his feet by a tsunami of snow created by a speeding Sanitation truck in February. The man, walking on Coney Island Avenue, was knocked down and injured by a wave of snow that also broke the windows of a nearby storefront, and he is now mulling a lawsuit against the city. He said he never saw the truck coming.

UPDATE (March 28, 2014): Councilman Treyger’s office got in touch to note an error int he Daily News version. In actuality, there are two bills on the table, extending this new regulation to privately-operated plows as well. See the statement below:

Councilman Mark Treyger (D – Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Seagate, Gravesend) announces new legislation to require all vehicles engaged in the removal of snow on roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and pedestrian walkways to be outfitted with flashing lights and audible warning systems. This legislation, which follows the recent deaths of three pedestrians who were stuck and killed by snowplows in Brooklyn, would apply to plows operated by the City of New York and privately owned plows.

“Snowplows are vehicles we deploy during times of emergency” asserts Treyger. “We should be treating them like emergency vehicles. Furthermore, during a snowstorm, you’re dealing with low visibility and it is easy for pedestrians to be blindsided. This is precisely what happened to Min Lin, a pregnant mother, who was killed in Sunset Park this past winter. Anything we can do to buy a few seconds forpedestrians and give them time to react could save lives. The state of Ohio has already passed a similar bill and it’s high time New York City caught up on this important issue.”

Photo by Roman Kruglov

BETWEEN THE LINES: New Yorkers warmly embraced a balmy weekend that likely thawed their chilled bodies and spirits. However, the forecast isn’t pleasant and looks like we’re in for Frigid Winter, Part Two. [Ed. – It was snowing all morning. We need this like we need holes in our heads.]

No sooner did Mother Nature tease us with a brief respite, with temperatures topping 50 degrees for three consecutive days, than we were alerted to a cold air mass heading south that will return temperatures below-freezing by mid-week.

Temperatures reached a high over the weekend not seen since it was a 55 on January 5, 2014 the day before the mercury nose-dived to a record low five degrees and frequently remained below freezing for the next six weeks.

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After a 23-day suspension, alternate side parking is now back in effect.

Alternate side parking regulations are now reinstated citywide as of Monday, February 24. Payment at parking meters will also be in effect throughout the city.

The regulations had been suspended since January 31 because of snow and ice, and to keep people from having to move their cars for street cleaning. It was an appreciated break by motorists, who would’ve been hard pressed to find new parking spaces with mountains of snow taking up spots.

The 23-day suspension is going near the top of the list for longest suspensions in the city’s history. The top slot stays with the Koch Administration, when alternate side parking was suspended for 62 consecutive days in 1978. And after the September 11th attacks, Manhattan did without alternate side parking for 30 days, while the rest of the city saw a 22-day suspension, the Daily News notes.

The paper also calculates that there have been 41 days out of a total of 54 days in 2014 that have seen the rules suspended.

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A woman attempts to pass beneath the B/Q line at Avenue Y, a daunting task.

New York City residents and business owners are required to clear their sidewalks after snow storms or face heavy fines from city authorities. But city agencies have failed to clear many public sidewalks and those abutting government property, suggesting a double standard that puts pedestrians at risk.

With 48 inches of snow falling over the course of 22 days since January 1, deadbeat landlords who’ve failed to shovel paths have become a reviled caricature in New York City. Currently, they could face fines of $150, and a local City Council member has introduced new legislation that would direct city workers to clear private sidewalks and forward the bill to the property owner.

But while city workers may one day be deployed to clear private sidewalks, Sheepshead Bites has found a number of government-owned sidewalks that those same city workers have failed to clear.

Among the worst spots this publication surveyed yesterday are the underpasses of the B/Q Brighton line, all located between East 15th Street and East 16th Street. From Sheepshead Bay Road to Kings Highway, not one of the half dozen underpasses without a subway station had clear paths shoveled on both sides of the street, and even some of those with a subway station were left uncleared. In most locations, the northern side of the street was partially shoveled, while the southern side remained untouched.

Keep reading to learn whose responsibility it is, and view the pictures of their neglect.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Source: Stephen Nessen / Flickr

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Source: Stephen Nessen / Flickr

BETWEEN THE LINES: With possibly the worst storm of the season, packed with heavy snow, sleet and rain racing up the East Coast, flights were grounded and government offices to the south of the city closed, but late last Wednesday Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Education (DOE) decided that public schools would open the following day. Hours earlier, severe winter storm warnings and advisories had been issued from Georgia to Maine, with thousands of school districts closed ahead of the storm’s leading edge. But New York City parents went to bed dazed and confused, because public school students were expected to be in school Thursday morning.

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Eric Adams

Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams issued a statement yesterday afternoon urging fellow Brooklynites to “take extra precautions” for their safety. The statement came hours after a second death in Brooklyn to be caused by a snow removal vehicle in just 10 days.

“Today, Brooklyn mourns the passing of Min Lin, who was fatally struck by a snowplow vehicle in Bay Ridge, as well as prays for the health of her newborn child. Death is always a tragic occurrence, and it is heightened here because, just ten days ago, our borough lost Stanislav Chernyshov when a backhoe pushing snow fatally struck him in Brighton Beach,” said Adams. “These incidents underscore the need for motorists, as well as cyclists and pedestrians, to take extra precautions in hazardous weather conditions, such as we have experienced this winter. Additionally, we must further impress the importance of safe driving and operation of snow removal vehicles, which must include proper training for operators.”

Both incidents occurred in Southern Brooklyn, and the vehicles were both privately operated plows clearing snow from private property. In yesterday’s incident, 36-year-old Min Lin, who was pregnant, was hit by a plow clearing the parking lot of Fei Long Market at 6301 8th Avenue. The unborn child survived the accident but is in critical condition at Maimonides Hospital.

On February 3, Stanislav Chernyshov was killed by a CAT vehicle removing snow from the Oceana condominium complex in Brighton Beach.

In another incident on February 5, a man suffered minor injuries after being knocked down on Coney Island Avenue by a wall of snow as a speeding Department of Sanitation snow plow passed - an incident caught on video that went viral. The driver has been disciplined by the agency, according to reports.

snow-shovel

It seems with every snowfall, more and more New Yorkers forget that it’s their responsibility to shovel their sidewalks and protect against slips and falls.

So we decided to put together this little post making clear what’s required of you, and a few extra tips to earn brownie points with the neighbors.

What’s required

  • Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any lot or building must clean snow and or ice from the sidewalk.
  • Cleaning must be done within 4 hours after the snow has stopped falling.
  • If snow stops falling after 9:00 p.m., it must be cleared by 11:00 a.m. the following morning.
  • Snow may not be thrown into the street.
  • If snow becomes frozen or is too hard to remove, residents can uses ashes, sand, sawdust or similar materials within the same time limits.
  • The sidewalk must be cleaned as soon as the weather permits.

The fine for violating any of these rules is between $100 and $150 for the first offense, and as high as $350 for subsequent offenses, according to city notices.

What’s recommended

  • During heavy snowfall, clear your sidewalk before the snow stops falling. It’s courteous to neighbors who may still have to get around, and it will make the job easier for yourself at the end of the day.
  • Check on your neighbors. If you live next to an elderly or disabled person, lend a hand and shovel for them. Hey, they may make you an apple pie.
  • Avoid using salt unless absolutely necessary. It can damage the sidewalk, leading to costly repairs for you down the road. Use kitty litter or sand instead.
  • If someone does slip and fall, go and see if they’re okay. It’s sad that this needs to be pointed out, but many people just snicker and go on their way.
  • Cleaning up your dog’s poop is still legally required, even if it’s sitting in some snow. Don’t be a jerk.
A great photo by Roman Kruglov of the last snow storm to hit Sheepshead Bay.

A great photo by Roman Kruglov of the last snow storm to hit the area.

Was anyone else caught off guard by today’s snow? I mean, I knew it was going to snow, but I wasn’t prepared for the wall of white we woke up to today.

Here’s the rundown of what you need to know:

Weather conditions

As of right now, it appears there’s about three inches on the ground. It’s expected to hit between 5 and 8 inches throughout the day, and then turn into snow and freezing rain at night and into morning. The heaviest snowfall is expected to come between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Currently, we’re under a winter storm warning until 7 p.m. tonight, when the warning eases up into a winter storm watch through the night and into morning.

The difference between a winter storm warning and a winter storm watch is that a warning means that a hazardous winter event is occurring and likely to pose a threat to life and property. A watch is less severe, and indicates that a significant weather event is expected, but not imminent.

The current warning covers all five boroughs, Nassau County and parts of New Jersey.

Road conditions

Because the snow began with a light rain mixture, and will finish off tonight with a freezing rain, streets and sidewalks will be slippery throughout the day, night and tomorrow.

Making matters worse, visibility is significantly reduced. So try to stay off the roads if you can, and if you can’t, drive slowly and with consideration for others on the road.

If you must drive, the city recommends using major roadways and highways as these will be plowed first.

Alternate side parking rules are suspended, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

Pedestrian and public safety

Remember to shovel a path in front of your home, but avoid overexertion when shoveling, and stretch before you go out (a major cause of death in the winter is heart attacks caused by overexertion while shoveling).

Keep dry, and watch for signs of frostbite, which includes the loss of body heat and white or pale appearance in extremities.

Mass transit

As far as mass transit, the MTA is not reporting snow related delays or problems in the subway system, but says that buses are running on a delayed schedule. Customers are urged to walk, and not run on staircases or platforms and to hold on to handrails when boarding and alighting from buses.

Public schools and  garbage collection

Non-District 75 public high schools are closed for students but open for staff; all other public schools open. Field trips and after school programs have been canceled.

Useful links

Here are some links to keep track of local conditions and city service statuses.

Did we miss something you think is important? Have a question we didn’t answer? Let us know in the comments!

This was not yesterday’s snow. This was much worse.

When it snowed in the beginning of the month – the first challenge of the new de Blasio administration – we received a slew of e-mails, phone calls and social media comments claiming that the city was botching the job and streets remained unplowed.

When it snowed yesterday, we heard nary a peep from our readers.

On the surface it would seem that residents appeared more satisfied with the city’s response to yesterday’s snow than they had been to the previous winter storm. But the New York Post disagrees. On the front page of the paper today, an all-caps headline reads “SHAMBLES! Turmoil as Blas botches ‘early’ snow.” The story claims that the Sanitation Department was caught off guard because the snow fell earlier than predicted, and zeros in on “tony” Upper East Side residents who claim they were neglected because they didn’t vote for Bill de Blasio. At the core of that claim is the Sanitation Department’s plow tracker map, which showed that the neighborhood had not received timely plowing. The New York Post, being the New York Post, neglected to mention the huge swaths of the outerboroughs that showed the same thing. (The Sanitation Department claimed that it was due to a broken GPS, and the Upper East Side had indeed been plowed. That’s comforting, right?).

Here in Southern Brooklyn, major streets were plowed regularly and side streets less frequently, as is the routine. As anyone who put shovel to concrete yesterday knows, it took about five minutes for the snow to again completely blanket the sidewalk. On our little side street, we did see the plows running regularly, even if it didn’t make much of an impact, but we haven’t seen any salt spreaders which would be useful in ridding ourselves of that last two inches of impact snow on the asphalt.

So our take is this: we’ve seen worse snow, and we’ve seen worse management of the snow. It could be better – more regular plowing and some salt would be nice, as would enforcement of laws requiring homeowners and businesses clear their sidewalks.

What do you think? Where does the city’s snow management need improvement?

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