City shoveling lags while homeowners get tickets

Posted at 11:20 PM, Feb 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-19 23:20:40-05

BROOKLYN (PIX11) – Four hours — that’s how long the city gives you to clear the snow once the final flake falls.

But more than 24 hours without snow and you’d never know it if you’re walking through Sheepshead Bay.
Sidewalks remain covered, making the trek a treacherous one for pedestrians.

“I fell a couple of times actually,” said Sheepshead Bay resident Frank Rosentsveyg. “I have to take my time, I have to walk really slowly and look everywhere.”

When it comes to private houses the city has responded by handing out thousands of tickets to homeowners.
The Daily News says more than two thousand tickets were handed out during the first three weeks of January, compared to just over five thousand all of last year.
Which is why Councilman David Greenfield say the city should clear the sidewalks and charge homeowners for the service.

“Instead of issuing a ticket, we would change the law where the city would now clear your sidewalk for you and they would simply charge you $250,” said Greenfield.

The only problem is, the city already has enough trouble clearing the sidewalks its responsible for.
In Sheepshead Bay, iced sidewalks remain hidden under MTA overpasses,  crosswalks are still covered near curbs, and nearly an entire block near a city owned lot looks like it’s barely been touched.

“When I have a full load of groceries, my life is in my hands, my own hands,” said Judith Baron as she stumbled through the snow.  “My heart is in my mouth trying to navigate the curbs and the un-shoveled walkways.”

In some cases streets go uncleared because city agencies pass the buck to one another, unclear who should actually accept responsibility.
But, unlike with homeowners, there is no penalty when the snow turns to ice.

“I don’t even know what to say about it, it’s so hypocritical,” said Rosentsveyg.

In the past Councilman Greenfield has proposed a bill that would end the political finger-pointing by creating a database that would show which city agency is responsible for clearing a street where there might otherwise be some confusion.  Given all the snowfall we’ve had this winter, he says now might be the time to bring that back up.

“The end result will be a safer commute for residents throughout the city, especially seniors, children and those in wheelchairs,” said Greenfield.

But in Sheepshead Bay, pedestrians aren’t holding their breath.

“We’re far away.  We’re way at the southern end and we seem to get everything last,” said Barron.

She says there’s a better chance Mother Nature will remove the snow long before the city gets to it.