In Preparation For Winter, Greenfield Pushes For Snow Removal On Pedestrian Overpasses

Courtesy of Councilman David Greenfield
Courtesy of Councilman David Greenfield

Snow season is around the corner, and while neighbors are fined when they fail to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes — which put pedestrians at risk — the city doesn’t always hold up its end of the bargain.

In time for winter, Councilman David Greenfield’s is once again pushing for legislation that establishes a clear plan for the removal of snow and ice from pedestrian bridges and overpasses — which was heard at the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management last week.

Greenfield’s proposed bill would require that the Office of Emergency Management include pedestrian bridges in its annual snow removal plan, in order to lower the risk of injury for school children, seniors, and others who commute to school and work every day by foot.

“After hearing complaints from local residents, schools and senior centers about hazardous conditions at many pedestrian bridges during winter months, I am proud that this bill was heard in the Sanitation Committee. Pedestrian bridges and overpasses are usually unplowed creating dangerous conditions,” said Greenfield. “This bill will result in safer conditions for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.”

icy path
Photo by Eric Jankiewicz/ Bensonhurst Bean

One of the problems discovered at the hearing is that up to three different city agencies may be responsible for clearing a pedestrian overpass, and as a result no single agency takes responsibility, according to the councilman.

Through this legislation, the exact location of the more than 100 pedestrian bridges throughout the five boroughs would be identified, and a plan for the snow removal — including which agency is responsible — will be publicly available.

The proposed legislation was introduced at the February 4 City Council Stated meeting, and currently has support of 19 council members, including Councilman Antonio Reynoso, the Council’s chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management.

“During snow and ice events, pedestrian bridges can be very difficult to navigate. This bill will require DSNY to proactively address this issue, which will ensure safety for those who depend on these bridges for their daily routes,” said Reynoso.

Though the MTA owns many of the overpasses, it is not responsible for clearing snow around these properties.

“The MTA is responsible for cleaning three feet from the entrance of a subway station,” said MTA spokesperson Judy Glave told our sister site Sheepshead Bites last year. “Any other city street is the city’s responsibility.”

Greenfield has worked closely with the Sanitation Department to improve snow removal efforts throughout Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst.

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