New York, NY – Little plows for little streets will make a big difference in snow removal plans for next winter, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today in his release of the city’s FY17 Executive Budget.
The budget includes $21 million in capital funding for new snow removal equipment to improve snow clearing operations and ensure New Yorkers can travel safely – in vehicles and on foot – after a snowfall. With this funding, the Department of Sanitation will increase capacity for plowing smaller streets as well as clearing crosswalks, bus stops, and pedestrian-only areas. The need for these smaller, specialized pieces of snow clearing equipment was identified in the Department of Sanitation’s after-action report, requested by the Mayor, in response to Storm Jonas, the second worst storm to ever hit New York City.
“Sometimes the little things can make a big difference – especially in a snowstorm. DSNY needs to be able to clear snow from narrow streets and crosswalks in the most effective and efficient way possible – and new haulsters and skid steer plows will help them do just that,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This new funding will make our streets safer for pedestrians and vehicles by purchasing smaller equipment that will help DSNY deftly navigate snowy streets and clear crosswalks and bus stops.”
New snow equipment, such as 80 haulsters, will allow DSNY to limit the use of outside contractors who currently supplement snow clearing operations on the 9,046 smaller, narrow street segments in Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. Shifting more of these operations to DSNY will improve snow clearing on tertiary streets that are smaller and more difficult to efficiently clear during a storm, and greatly improve snow operations.
“DSNY faced enormous challenges during the January blizzard that went down in the record books as the second worst snowstorm ever to hit our city,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “One of those challenges was the intense snowfall that hit sections of Queens, burying smaller streets in some communities with up to 30 inches of heavy snow. As a follow up to the Mayor’s desire to improve response time in the future, we identified the need for smaller, specialized equipment that could be housed in those neighborhoods. These new haulsters, crosswalk plows and front end loaders will help enormously.”
The $21 million will also fund 21 additional front-end loaders, which will replace mid-sized FELs currently used during salt loading operations. Larger loaders will allow DSNY to decrease turnaround on salt loading and lower queue lines. In addition to increasing overall efficiency for salt-loading, using front-end loaders for salt operations frees up the medium-sized loaders for other uses, such as plowing dead end streets. DSNY can then deploy those in streets during heavy snowfalls to ensure standard plows and V-plows remain usable when large amounts of snow have accumulated. Snow accumulation can render snow clearing equipment immobile in more isolated areas, so the redeployment of the mid-sized loaders will speed up the process of clearing tertiary streets that are completely blocked to plows.
This investment will also fund 40 new skid steer plows to further mechanize the clearing of crosswalks, bus stops, which will facilitate better and safer travel for pedestrians following a significant snowfall.
Storm Jonas After Action Report
New York City experienced a historic blizzard beginning on Friday, January 22, 2016. Total accumulations at Central Park measured 26.8 inches, making it the second largest snow storm recorded by the National Weather Service at that location since 1869. Following the storm, DSNY prepared an After Action Report, which included the following recommendations. These recommendations have helped inform the administration’s investments in DSNY today and include concrete steps to:
• Maximize effectiveness of equipment, including new vehicle purchases and earlier use of front end loaders
• Improve coverage and route effectiveness, with computerized route assignments, improved procedures, and additional snow training for sanitation workers, supervisors and superintendents
• Improve shift changes
• Improve snow response for pedestrian areas, including better management of snow laborers
• Improve transparency and information flow
The full After Action report can be viewed here.
“The blizzard of 2016 hit Queens hard and that caused many challenges in clearing the snow throughout many parts of the borough. That’s why investing in this type of snow removal equipment is critical. It will improve and speed-up snow removal from our streets and roadways and facilitate better and safer travel for motorists and pedestrians. This winter’s snow is finally behind us but it’s never too early get ready for next season. I’m pleased that the City is making sure that it will be prepared,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng.
“By focusing on improving snow removal from narrow streets and crosswalks, we can keep all Brooklynites on the move and safely on the way to their destinations,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I commend Mayor de Blasio for making a financial commitment to areas of our city that historically have had to wait a long time to dig out from a snowstorm.”
“When you live in a part of the city that doesn’t have a subway or easy access to public transportation, it doesn’t matter whether your street is considered primary or secondary or tertiary – it has to be plowed. I know firsthand the difficulty of clearing narrow streets in neighborhoods like New Dorp Beach and Westerleigh with plows and front loaders designed for larger streets. That is why it is critical that DSNY has the right equipment to ensure that every size and type of street is cleared of snow so that all residents can get to work, bring their children to school, get to doctor’s appointments and resume normal activity as much as possible. By providing these resources, the Mayor is making sure every street is a priority,” said City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo.
“It is crucial that we equip DSNY with all the tools necessary to keep our city on its feet during the snow season. Residents living in the outer boroughs must have clear and safe streets when they travel to school and work after a blizzard, and I am pleased to see this administration improving its fleet to respond to that need,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the Committee on Finance.