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With winter coming, what's the status of the City of Buffalo's snow removal plan?

A City of Buffalo spokesperson said the Department of Public Works is on track to release its snow removal plan by Nov. 1.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A City of Buffalo spokesperson said the Department of Public Works is on track to release its 2022 snow removal plan by Nov. 1 as dictated by the city charter, despite the concerns of a few members of the Common Council.

University District Council member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt told 2 On Your Side Wednesday that the council has not received any info about what is expected to be an updated plan, which he said was concerning.

Lovejoy Council member Bryan Bollman backed up his colleague and shared similar worries.

"You know I don't think people want to hear a repeat from last year and they'll be very very upset if we aren't ready," Wyatt said.

Back in February, the common council called a special committee meeting to gauge the city's response. Residents who spoke during that meeting did not paint a pleasant picture and complained about impassable side streets, blocked bus stops, and waiting days for their streets to be plowed.

These complaints came after a series of back-to-back winter storms where parts of Buffalo and Western New York received 12 inches of snow on multiple days. 

At the time, the Buffalo Public Works Commissioner told lawmakers the city's snow plan, as written, focused on an average of 10 inches of snowfall and that they would be looking for additional ways to operate with above-average snowfalls. 

While we do not know what updates will be included in the city's new 2022 snow plan when it is released, North District Councilmember Joseph Golombeck told 2 On Your Side, his plan for a sidewalk snow removal pilot will not be included.

No funding was budgeted for such a plan and as Golombeck explained that "what happened is simply the weather got nice" and interest in the proposal was lost.

Golombeck did say that after discussing with the mayor's office, he was glad to hear that enforcement of homeowners, business owners, landlords, etc. who are required to clear their sidewalks, will be more strict this winter.

As stated in the city charter it is the "duty of the owner or occupant of any premises abutting upon any park approach to cause the sidewalks in front of or adjacent thereto to be kept clear of snow, ice, dirt, and obstructions and to cause all snow and ice to be removed therefrom before 9 a.m. of each day."

"I am very supportive this year of ticketing people because they should know better and they do know better," Golombeck said.

Despite a set release date for the city's updated snow removal plan, Councilmember Wyatt has requested that someone from the department of public works come to speak and share what info they may have about the city's updated plan. He said the council Community Development Committee Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11 would be open.

"We're going to ask for public works to come before us the interim commissioner or whoever to let us know what the plan is so we can let the residents know that they're in good hands this year," University District Council member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt said.

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