Blizzard of Discontent

We haven’t had the full reckoning promised by the City Council yet, but it seems safe to say that a few things contributed to the uproar over unplowed NYC streets over the holidays: 1) There was a lot of snow; 2) the Bloomberg administration didn’t declare a snow emergency, and 3) apparently many motorists could have used the official government declaration telling them not to drive in a fierce blizzard, because stuck and abandoned cars made it harder for plow crews to do their jobs.

There didn’t seem to be much reflection, however, about the complications caused by driving and parking during an extreme snowstorm. In fact, as you can see in this rant by Council Member David Greenfield, who took umbrage that the Ocean Parkway malls got cleared so people can walk or bike in his district, some elected officials weren’t above using the occasion to take a swipe at the city’s bike policy.

The “blame bike lanes” instinct also surfaced at the Post and the Daily News, both running indignant opinions about bikeways getting cleared of snow. They may be pleased to hear that the Prospect Park West bike lane is impassable for cyclists.

One of the ironies here is that some anti-bikeway types, including opponents of the PPW bike lane, have claimed that snow clearance would be an Achilles’ heel of the new, physically separated facilities. In the eyes of the opposition, NYC’s bikeways are damned if they get plowed, and damned if they don’t.