Stuck New York City buses off 5th Avenue in New York December 27, 2010 after a blizzard dropped 18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 cm) of snow in the area. (Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) Stuck New York City buses off 5th Avenue in New York December 27, 2010 after a blizzard dropped 18 to 20 inches of snow in the area. (Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

City Councilman David Greenfield will be introducing legislation on Wednesday that aims to augment the way pedestrian bridges are cleared after a snowstorm.

Greenfield said the bill is motivated by complaints — many from seniors and senior centers — that too often, pedestrian bridges go uncleared after a blizzard, making the already-steep bridges especially treacherous.

"I hear from seniors that they can't walk by or if they walk, they fall," Greenfield explained. "These pedestrian paths at train stations have become a blind spot for the Department of Sanitation."

 

The bill calls upon the Department of Sanitation to include in their annual report a list of all the pedestrian bridges in the city, as well as a plan for how they will clear all bridges after a snowstorm.

That plan would explicitly outline which agency is responsible for various bridges, as that can vary.

Greenfield said that a major problem in the past has been finger-pointing among city agencies shirking responsibility.

"You get the blame game," Greenfield said. "Every agency blames a different agency."

Since many of the pedestrian bridges are located near or connected to train stations, sometimes the onus is meant to be on the LIRR or the MTA, Greenfield said.

The councilman emphasized the importance of knowing who is responsible prior to the snowstorm, not after the fact. That way, he said, when reports come in of snowed-over pedestrian bridges, he and other councilmembers can advocate for their constituents effectively, contacting the proper agency right away.

The Department of Sanitation said they could not respond to questions about their responsibility for pedestrian bridges without being given exact locations, but they did acknowledge that they are responsible for clearing some bridges.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

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