Southern Brooklyn

MTA Deserves Blame In Blizzard Response, Too

MTA Chairman Jay Walder says he's preparing a full accounting of the problems with the blizzard.
That's such a mean photo for the Daily News to run. (Source:

After the December 26 blizzard, I doubted blame some put on the MTA regarding the non-existent bus service. I blamed it all on the Sanitation Department and the uncleared snow. Apparently, that was incorrect; there is enough guilt to go around.

All 600 buses stuck in the snow need not have gotten stuck if the MTA had taken precautionary measures by issuing a red alert instead of a blue alert, according to Channel 5.

I had based my previous comment partially on Jay Walder’s statement that the newer buses do not require snow chains in the snow and therefore were not put on.  In his public comments, Mr. Walder made no mention of red or blue alerts. Regarding the subway problems, the MTA only issued a Plan #1 alert (lowest level) rather than a Plan #4 (highest level).  Plan #4 supposed to be issued when 5 or more inches of snow is forecast as it was.

The MTA’s own internal investigation should indicate why this was not done. The MTA Inspector General is conducting his own independent investigation.

Also, a lawyer stuck on the A train for seven hours is suing the MTA for not evacuating or transporting passengers sooner. After all, if the airlines must make restitution for planes stuck on the tarmac for three hours, why shouldn’t the MTA be required to do the same?

Incidentally, January 7 and 8 is the anniversary of the 1996 blizzard.  It took three days for Brighton Line service to be restored after that blizzard.  More recent blizzards with higher amounts of snow saw service restored in one day or less.

This post is by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

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  1. When I was attending Hunter College, one of my instructors was a reporter for the New York Times. He told us that whenever the press is angry at someone, they pick the meanest picture they could find to run. Guess Walder is losing some friends over this blizzard.

    I also wonder how much is being spent on MTA managers being diverted from their regular tasks to study what went wrong with the blizzard response.

  2. I remember the blizzard of 1996, I had just gotten out of Basic, AIT and Jump School and was assigned to the 10th Mountain, and we were used to help out local townships with the snow and ice cleanup, as well as clearing fallen trees upstate.

  3. Speaking of getting sunk in it. Someone in Staten Island had a heart attack and died shoveling snow during this blizzard. He got covered in snow and wasn’t found for three days!. When the body was found, they found his dog inside who hadn’t eaten in three days. That’s how I know about this story, because the landlord offered the dog to one of my neighbors. He kept it for several days until the victim’s children claimed the dog and asked him to return it to them.

    Wonder if this story was covered anywhere like at least the Staten Island Advance. I’ll have to check.

  4. Can we just quit the whining and get back to business? Monther Nature is not always a nice old lady. Get over it or move to Florida.

  5. One of my daughters old teachers from Our Lady of Grace experienced similar tragedy during the storm. Her husband died of a heart attack from shoveling. This happened in the Midwood section. It’s really sad so much pain and suffering had to come out of all this. And so little attention is being paid to these deaths by the televised news media.

  6. that is the perfect face to display the meanie jay walder. The Brighton Line is prone to snow pile-up due to its open-cut and embankment structures. Plan 4 should have been implemented the day before the blizzard. Running the arnies that Sunday was a huge mistake.

  7. I don’t see anyone complaining that it snowed, do you? People are complaining about the inconveniences they faced due to either incompetence or purposeful neglect. Though it’s pretty obvious you weren’t inconvenienced.

  8. Not to mention the people that died or suffered severe complications because of said incompetence/neglect. If only they had moved to Florida before tragedy hit them.

  9. But to quote Groucho Marx, playing a hotel manager in Florida who’s playing the real estate game; “Florida folks, land of perpetual sunshine. Let’s get the auction started before we have a tornado”

  10. How quickly people forget! My friend bought a condo in Florida several years back. That year they were hit by four hurricanes. He immediately purchased a generator to power his whole house in case of future power loss. Don’t think he needed it once, but almost sold the condo at a loss because he was afraid every year would bring several severe hurricanes to the state. So far it hasn’t happened again. No place is safe. Midwest — Tornadoes; California — fires and mudslides; northeast — snowstorms.

  11. According to Ben Kabock of that wasn’t possible due to the forecast and the time a plan had to be chosen by. When Plan 1 was chosen, less than five inches had been predicted. When they realized the accumulations would be greater, it was too late to call the employees back in. Still don’t understand why at least Plan 2 or 3 could not have been chosen. Guess we will have to wait for the official investigations.

    Ben also told me that the lawyer suing the MTA was not on the A train himself. I thought I read somewhere that he was one of the passengers.

  12. It reminds me of some Outer Limits when the monster sucks the salt out of the people.
    Either that or he’s saying, “Can you believe the size of those melons”. LOL
    Can’t believe I am posting this. Zap.
    Remember Zap Comics?

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