Earlier this year, (working as a private consultant) GObike’s Deputy Director Ashley Smith was part of a team of nine professionals that NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service commissioned to produce a report on the City of Buffalo’s preparedness and response to the blizzard that struck the region from December 23 – 25. The scope of the project looked at December 19, 2022 – February 27, 2023.
Within the report, there were a couple of key findings that directly relate to GObike’s mission in the community to advance sustainability, resiliency, connectivity and health by increasing safety and access to public transit, walking, biking, rolling.
“Prioritize restoring public transportation after a storm, especially routes
that serve grocery stores and food pantries.
As the NFTA did immediately in the past, the City should work with the transit body to prioritize a shuttle service to nearby grocery stores as soon as it is safe to do so. DPW should continue to ensure timely plowing of those routes that are used by buses, especially those providing access to necessities, like groceries.”
“Resiliency: Once the storm and its impacts have passed, Buffalo has an opportunity to address large-scale challenges
Abandoned cars, stranded motorists, and blocked roadways were all symptoms of Buffalonians’ reliance on cars. The City and State should collaborate to expand the transit system’s reach, as buses can more easily traverse snowy streets than typical passenger vehicles.”
The Blizzard of 2022 was a storm of absolutely epic proportions, but as the frequency of storms of this size increases in the years to come, we have to learn lessons from our own preparedness and response, and be better prepared when the next one comes.
Expanding our public transit systems including bus and rail, prioritizing them in snow removal and building more walk-able neighborhoods with diverse services available, we can ease our region’s reliance on cars and be more resilient, in economic and public safety terms, in the face of the next storm to hit our region. Let’s continue to do that work together.