The scoop on snow emergencies


Well, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his hole Saturday, and the little rodent says we're looking at six more weeks of winter. That means there could be a few more snow emergencies in our future (Mr. Snow Miser... are you listening?). A-Town has only seen two snow emergences this season. The first kind of took us by surprise, and the second hardly seemed like enough snow to constitute a concern, much less an emergency. But then, it's not our job to declare snow emergencies. Who's job is it? AOA got the scoop (or shovel if you will) on Albany snow emergencies from Albany Police Spokesman Jim Miller.

How is the decision made? Is there a groundhog involved?

No, basically the amount of snow and how quickly it comes down. There's no particular threshold. Usually 6-8 inches is when it starts to become important to clear the streets quickly.

Who decides?

The Mayor.

Does he stand outside and look around or what?

He consults with DGS, fire and police. You know, his agency heads.

How much advance notice does the city have to give residents?

We try to give at least 24 hours notice. Sometimes that has to be shortened. Recently there was a storm that came up rather quickly and we had to give less than 24 hours. I can't remember off the top of my head but there was more than 8 hours. It wouldn't be realistic to give people an hour to move their cars. The idea is not to penalize car owners, it's to make the streets safe. We try to notify people any way we can. All the media outlets. We send email to neighborhood associations. We even knock on doors on the street to get people to come out and move their cars. It's a lot easier to have people move their cars than it is to tow them. There are always going to be people we miss, or people who aren't paying attention, but Traffic Safety towed under 500 cars in the last two snow emergencies. In years past there were around 1,000.

We understand there's a phone number to call if your car is towed. Who answers that phone, and what did they do to deserve that job?

Traffic safety does that. Anybody getting towed will be unhappy. Some people are understanding some will get mad. They're public servants, so it's all part of their

The Scoop

For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Thank you!

...has 27 comments, most recently from Ashley

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine