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Is it time for a new Buffalo snow plan?

“We shouldn't be trapped in a home"
Posted at 7:09 PM, Jan 19, 2022

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Buffalo's snow removal plan includes a residential street protocol. It says within 24-hours of a snow event, the goal of the public works department is to complete at least one snow plow pass on every residential street in the city.

City of Buffalo Snow Removal Plan.

But that didn't happen with this week’s snow storm. Some city residents say they did not see a plow on their street until Wednesday, more than 48-hours after the snow event.

Many Buffalo residents are saying enough is enough and that they are tired of waiting for plows to come down their streets

They are demanding new solutions from City Hall for a very old problem.

Shirley Stitt, Buffalo resident.

“We shouldn't be trapped in a home because we can't get out due to the fact that the streets are not plowed,” remarked Shirley Stitt, Buffalo resident.

Stitt is a life-long Buffaloian. She has lived on Humber Avenue on the city's east side for 58 years.

Stitt tell me when ever there's a snow event, her street doesn't get plowed or just gets a swipe with one path down a two way street.

“So when was the first time you saw a plow down your street since the snow started Sunday night” Buckley asked.

“They came about maybe two thee hours ago,” replied Stitt.

Buffalo resident clears snow in street in front of home.

After the plow swept the street Wednesday morning, Stitt's son came out to shovel out the areas on the street where cars were parked earlier.

“Do you feel like you're almost taking it into your own hands?” Buckley questioned.

"Well you have to because we want to be able to get out the driveway when we need to work — emergency — you want to be to leave your home..">

“This problem was magnified because of the alternate parking — because of the change over,” said Rasheed Wyatt, common council member.

In the city’s University District, council member Wyatt says he received more complaints than ever before.

University District Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt.

He says it is time to revise the city's snow removal plan.

“If we're a snow city, we should be experts at removing snow and I think if we have to put the dollars there, even if we've got to spend over time — whatever it's got to be — we should be able to do it in a more efficient way,” Wyatt explained.

Wyatt says it's time to work with communities to create new strategies.

“Nothing should be off the table — they want to improve the quality of life. We know we're a snow city. We're going to get snow, so we have to look at how we better do it,” Wyatt noted.

Unplowed city street Tuesday.

Wyatt suggests using church parking lots so people can park overnight off the streets.

I asked Buffalo's Public Works and Streets Commissioner Michael Finn if the city is considering ways of improving the situation.

“We’ll be continuing to look at ways to improve technology, improve fleet, improve training — whatever it is to make better service,” responded Finn.

But I pressed Finn on decisions for alternate parking and what failed in the snow removal plan.

FINN 1.jpg
Buffalo's Public Works and Streets Commissioner Michael Finn.

“Was it a mistake not to have people move their cars when the storm was happening? Was that a mistake?” Buckley questioned.

“We did that because just being realistic — there were some cars that just couldn't move, so what we do is ask people to use common sense and move when they are able to,” responded Finn.

“What can you learn from that plan and start to recreate that plan to come up with a new method? Buckley asked.

“As we go through any storm we do a debrief, it’s part of the snow plan, after each one, there's a debrief that's put together with lessons learned,” replied Finn.

Cars along city side streets.

Finn says the amount of record snow, which was nearly two feet in some parts of the city and too many vehicles parked along the streets made it very challenging to quickly remove the snow.

The city says as of late Wednesday afternoon 95-percent of city streets have now had a least one pass over with a snow plow and the five-percent still had cars blocking.