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City leaders credit pre-treatment, residents' cooperation in readiness for morning commute

Avery Schneider, WBFO

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and city officials had a message to residents, as they provided an update on snow clearing efforts: thank you. Honoring winter parking rules, Brown said, was one of the factors that helped streets crews get main and secondary thoroughfares ready for the Friday morning commute, following about a foot of snow that fell in the Queen City overnight.

With major streets down to pavement by Friday morning, streets crews shifted their focus to side and residential streets. An estimated 40 pieces of equipment were on the job.

Mayor Brown and Streets Commissioner Steve Stepniak both stated that crews had the advantage of being able to treat the roads with salt in advance of the storm. That was made easier by the fact the Thursday evening commute had finished and most roads were clear of heavy traffic.

"The heaviest snow period, through the night, was between 11 o'clock and four in the morning. That's when most snow fell in the city proper. That's why those crews stay on those mains and secondaries, to get those open for traffic in the morning," Stepniak said. "We've switched over quickly to the residentials and we will be working those residentials all day today."

Stepniak told reporters in City Hall Friday morning that a handful of trees or limbs were downed by the heavier wetter snow, but most were addressed by that time. 

Mayor Brown says what also aided streets crews was the general cooperation of the public, who honored winter parking rules and stayed off the roads if it wasn't necessary to be out.

"We thank the residents of Buffalo for their great cooperation with that request," Brown said. "We want residents to follow the requirements for alternate side-of-the-street parking so that we can get into the residential streets."

Stepniak offered some positive news for Buffalo's weekend. He said the Shamrock Run, scheduled to host its 40th annual running race in Buffalo's Old First Ward, was still on as scheduled despite the snow. 

He admitted, though, that his streets crews face a new challenge when the latest snow melts away: the numerous potholes in the pavement.

"We have a meeting this morning with some of our pothole folks and they understand the challenge that's before them," he said. "We had a great strategy on catching up and there's going to be some catch-up when this is done. We understand that and the crews are willing and ready to get that done."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.