Civic News
Data / Municipal government

Brooklyn streets are plowed as heck

With PlowNYC, residents can see the last time their street was plowed. We went out and checked and, we gotta say, the open data appears to be correct.

Honorary Brooklyn Editorial Assistant Audrey Gardner, 11, measures the snow accumulation on Driggs Avenue, Jan. 4, 2018. (Photo by Tyler Woods)

Somehow, nearly every street in Brooklyn has been plowed in the last three hours, and every major avenue in the last one hour.

That information is available thanks to PlowNYC, a website by the city of New York that shows, in color-coded detail, the last time each street in the five boroughs was plowed.

There are some parts of Brooklyn, though, where blade has not touched street in some time. Downtown Brooklyn looks a little rough, as do some of the genteel residential streets in Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill.

Check out your street

Things look better further out in Brooklyn, where people drive more, with Dyker Heights, Midwood and Borough Park all looking clear, according to the map.

PlowNYC's map of North Brooklyn as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

PlowNYC’s map of North Brooklyn as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday. (Screenshot)

Snow accumulation is expected to reach between five and eight inches by the time this storm is through, according to the Times.

PlowNYC is a Bloomberg-era program that started in 2013. It equips all the city’s trash trucks (which become snow plows at times like these) with GPS devices, so that their data may be mapped out and published. New York residents (and everyone, forever, everywhere) have long complained about what streets get plowed first in storms and who gets left out. Thanks to the city making this data open, residents can now just see for themselves.

Of course, not everyone believes the data. Last January, City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens), called for a public hearing over the website, which he said falsely showed Queens as being well-plowed when the reality was that the streets were filled with snow, he claimed to the Post.

So what’s the truth? Like many New Yorkers, we worked from home today but that didn’t stop us from doing some on-the-ground reporting.

According to PlowNYC, my Greenpoint street, Morgan Avenue, was plowed 1–3 hours ago, while the street around the corner, Driggs Avenue, was plowed 0–1 hours ago. Along with my editorial assistant for the day, middle-schooler Audrey from the apartment upstairs, home from school on a snow day, we went out and measured.

The results corroborated the data of PlowNYC. We measured about four inches of snow in the middle of the road on Morgan Avenue, and only about two inches of snow in the middle of Driggs. On both streets, there were tire lanes of tamped down snow that measured less than half an inch.

Series: Brooklyn

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