Remember the day after the December 26 blizzard? Remember how many streets were left neglected and unplowed and how hard it would have been to have an EMT or fire truck or anything else come to the rescue?
Of course you do, because we never quit whining about them! And, lucky for us, neither did the City Council, which put forward 17 bills to improve the city’s snow response efforts yesterday. Almost all of the proposals emerged from constituent complaints shared during the City Council’s blizzard response hearings.
The proposals are largely targeted at improving communication, coordination and planning. There are a number of good ideas under consideration, including the establishment of a volunteer registry, annual snow preparedness reports (and inventory of equipment), and identifying snow plow routes. There are also some very practical proposals, like requiring the city to suspend meter regulations whenever Alternate Side Parking is suspended, and removing snow and ice from curb cuts, pedestrian medians and bus stops following a snowfall.
Overall, the proposals do seem to be a direct response to neighbors’ complaints, and will create a more effective response going forward.
Or not. Mayor Bloomberg is attempting to put the kibosh on the whole deal, rejecting the entire package outright.
Liz Weinstein, the director of the mayor’s Office of Operations, stated at Wednesday’s hearing that this package will duplicate city efforts and tie the hands of emergency management officials.
We’re not quite sure how proposals, like one that would install borough supervisors for the Office of Emergency Management – a proposal meant to increase local coordination and communications – would give the agency less flexibility. But, hey, it’s King Bloomberg’s world and we all just live in it.