BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – The City of Buffalo plans to improve its approach to snow removal this winter, after crews had issues plowing streets last year.

“A snow storm has so many moving parts when you’re talking about cleaning up,” Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen said. “I think this GPS is something that is positive but it’s going to be about greater communication.”

The Department of Public Works calls the tool a “snow fighting” tracking system. The technology allows people to see if their street has been plowed, and if not, when it will be plowed.

“When people can’t get out because of snow and it hasn’t been plowed, they’re still going to be frustrated, but I think at least they have the information to know if their street was plowed, if it wasn’t plowed,” Pridgen told News 4.

“I think people are going to want their streets plowed as quickly as possible and rightfully so,” said Common Council member Joseph Golombek, who’s been pushing for the city to implement this new system.

Golombek hopes this tool will help crews do a better job clearing out residential and secondary streets, which was an issue last winter. He said cars parked on the wrong side of the road also played a factor, and the GPS tracker should help limit that.

“Last year, I was actually out with the community police officers, and we’d find out who owned a car and we were knocking on doors, asking people, ‘Hey, you got to move your car,'” Golombek said. “I would much rather see it go directly to the parking violations bureau and move them as quickly as possible, so residents can get plowed out as quickly as possible.”

The city currently has 120 vehicles equipped with the GPS system, and it will eventually expand to all Department of Public Works vehicles, including sanitation.

“I think right now, people expect up-to-date technology with everything in their life, and when it comes to snow removal in the City of Buffalo, people expect it,” Buffalo Common Council member Joel Feroleto said. “I’m happy that they’re going to be utilizing it this year.”

The tracking software can be found at www.buffalony.gov/snowfleet and residents are also able to call 311 for assistance if they do not have the ability to go online and track the snow plowing services in their area.

According to the Common Council, other components of the 2022-23 Snow Removal Plan include:

  1. Have every street, main and residential, in the city plowed at least once within 24 hours after the end of a snow event
  2. DPW will have three salt spreaders with plows to be used on main streets, viaducts, and school crossings
  3. DPW will have two high-lifts with plows for residential side streets (three for West Side area)
  4. One high-lift with bucket will be used for snow removal on dead-end streets, bus stops, and at school bus stops
  5. The 2022-23 budget has allocated $260,000 for outside contractors to assist in snow fighting operations
  6. DPW wants to remind residents that the NYS Thruway, Route 33, I-198, and the Elm-Oak arterial are the responsibility of the NYSDOT and the Thruway Authority

Representatives from the Department of Public Works will address and answer questions from the Council at the next Community Development Committee meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. You can review the 2022-2023 City of Buffalo Snow Plan at this link.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.