Snow Clogged Bus Stops: Who Is Responsible?

3:55 PM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With our recent snowfalls, snow is still clogging some bus stops and shelters. It's a particular problem for people like Debi Garwol who is disabled.

She sent a Facebook post to WGRZ Channel 2 with pictures depicting her problems at bus stops along Elmwood Avenue. We got a similar Facebook posting from Judy Jackson. But Debi Garwol sums up the frustration this way.."It's unacceptable. There's too many handicapped people, elderly people..who just cannot climb these piles of snow. Or stand in the street. I have to stand in the street with my walker as traffic whips past me waiting for the bus to come."

And out on the streets...more concerned riders..some disabled, some not. Diane Heidle says "They're not cleared the right way. There's snow all over the place. In front of it...you can't even get to where the seats are. So it's always a problem...especially this time of year? Yes...definitely."

Adam Jones says "We take the Broadway bus, we take the Main bus, we take the Delevan bus...every single stop is just like this. They've got a little path cut out. it's very dangerous."

So who's responsible ?

We asked Doug Hartmayer of The Niagara Frontier Transporation Authority "Could the NFTA be cited by a code enforcement person from a municipality ? Hartmayer says: No...because as I understand the codes.. The responsibility lies either with the municipality or with that property owner. Not with the authority. The shelter is on that sidewalk and that's where the responsibility actually lies."

Buffalo City spokesman Mike DeGeorge says the City Charter does state the property owner abutting the bus - stop or shelter, usually a business, has the responsibility for clearance. If there are complaints, city inspectors can be sent out to issue warnings or fines. And in some cases city crews will assist the NFTA in snow removal.

But Debi Garwol adds "Last year wasn't bad. We had a good winter. I don't think we're gonna have that same thing this year. And somebody needs to stay on top of it."

Hartmayer does point out that bus drivers are trained to look for a cleared area like a driveway or intersection if the bus stop is piled with snow. Riders can also flag them down to be picked up in an open area or request to be let out in a cleared area.

wgrz

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