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Syracuse's upgraded snow plow map shows when streets were last cleared

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh shows a map of city streets that have been cleared of snow
Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh shows a map of city streets that have been cleared of snow

Syracuse’s traditionally snowy winters may have taken some time to show up this year, but now that it has, some upgraded technology will help city residents see exactly where snowplows are clearing streets.

Mayor Ben Walsh said the city’s upgraded snowplow tracking map is ready for action, now that some serious snow has started to fall.

"We’ve upgraded the GPS technology that are on not just snowplows but all our city fleet, and we’ve upgraded the software we’re using that’s informing the map the public sees, as well as the backend dashboard we’re seeing for operations," Walsh said.

Here’s how it works. Residents, or anyone visiting the city, can visit the snow safety page on the city’s website. There, a color coded map shows the last time a street was plowed, from less than an hour to within 24 hours.

“Sometimes if it’s snowing heavily it may look like a plow hasn’t been on your street,” Walsh said. “But if you look at the map you realize, we were there six hours ago, it’s just snowed a lot since then. But knowing that gives our residents peace of mind that they’re not being ignored, we’re just trying to keep up with the snow.”

The map also shows one of the big obstacles for plows trying to clear residential streets.

“One of the biggest reasons someone's street doesn’t get plowed isn’t because we didn’t try,” Walsh said. “It’s because of illegally parked cars. And if you go on the map you’ll see little car icons where we’ve ticketed cars, and they may have impeded our ability to plow that road."

Walsh says the upgraded system will also be applied to the city’s sidewalk plowing program later this season, and is a continuation of the city’s data-driven service strategy.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.