Share this article

print logo

At last, a snow plan; State comes up with fixes to clear the Thruway, safeguard motorists

This page, along with scores of Western New Yorkers, recently asked for a plan to clear the Thruway of snow and vehicles during major storms. It appears the incoming governor was listening because his administration went right to work on what should be a better procedure.

A plan for snow! In Western New York, of all places!

The area's Dec. 3 snowstorm resulting in the embarrassing -- not to mention dangerous -- backup of cars and trucks along the Thruway was an example of bureaucratic ineptitude.

Hundreds of motorists were stranded for 17 hours or more and it seemed no one was in charge. Local authorities were at the mercy of a state bureaucracy -- specifically the Thruway Authority and State Police -- that couldn't get its act together while gas and patience ran out for those poor folks stuck on the highway.

The debacle never should have taken place, especially a decade after a similar sudden storm hit the area. Back then, there was an outcry for a plan that went unanswered.

First, you have to admit you have a problem. To his credit, Thruway Authority Executive Director Michael R. Fleischer did that immediately in the aftermath of the latest storm.

The next logical step is to take a logical step. That's where Howard B. Glaser, the new director of state operations under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, comes in.

Glaser hit the pavement with a draft set of new guidelines for emergencies along the Thruway. They range from new requirements ensuring that agencies talk to one another to giving regional state officials the power to close the highway.

There are a bunch more ideas that are being shared with the public, including a new Weather Emergency Action Team to coordinate a better response and efforts to mobilize units before the first snowflake even hits.

In sum, there should be better coordination, communication and more authority given to local agencies that are already in place.

It all makes a blizzard of sense because around Western New York, it's never too early to plan for the next snowstorm.

There are no comments - be the first to comment