I don't know if "Plowgate" is real in NYC. There should clearly be a simple plan.
Preset the plows in proper areas.
After the highways, First plowed are the streets used by ambulances. The main thoroughfares by hospitals.
Second, Firehouses. We don't want anyone dying from accidental fires.
Third, I am sure every city knows their high traffic streets utilized by commercial vehicles that provide necessities (fuel & food).That means workers at fuel depots, and food warehouses can also get to work. Bus Depots and railyards would be high priority. Each city would obviously make their own priority list. Nothing would be set in stone, but logic should rule, not the whim of an elected official.
Fourth, high traffic streets for those that commute,which would include all bus routes. In NY, obviously, the main avenues. Flatbush Ave, 125th St. Hylan Blvd, etc. come to mind. It would include the North South Streets in Manhattan. It would include all those streets at highway entrances and exits. It would include the main crosstown traffic ares.
Fifth, every street must be prioritized by daily usage, and expected usage in a snow storm. If a school is closed, it has a lower priority. If the school will be used for shelter, it has a much higher priority. The priority must be justified. The justification could be XYZ is located there, or the plow has to turn around. Every street should be prioritized with a reason.
The snow is only a problem for a few days. There are supervisors, managers, chiefs, etc, allover NYC. They have MONTHS to plan these events. The #1 guy at the Department of Sanitation should be sitting there saying , "Why?" to each facility boss all the way down the line. Realistically, the operation of the city should not be based on who lives upon a street.It should be published. Copies sent to local councilmembers. They should be able to add input as to why a street should have greater priority. It should be based on the use of the street. The street with the multimillionaire who has the only house on a cul-de-sac should be way down on the list. The multimillionaires who live on the upper East side, next to the hospitals should be way up there. Not because of who they are, but where they are. The very poor people who live right by the highway exit in downtown Brooklyn, should have far greater priority than the poor people that live in the middle of Redhook. Again, because of where they are, not who they are. (Just as an aside, I lived on a cul-de-sac. I shoveled the road in front of my house.I was asked "Why?" I said we are on a dead end. If everyone pitched in we would not have a problem.We are probably way down on the counties list. "But I pay taxes!" I said the taxes won't get the ambulance thru any quicker today.)
You might have noticed that I did not say police precincts. I think that the police should have additional planning. They should have an alternative. They are going to have to overcome the snow by other means than the department of Sanitation. They are going to go to situations in areas that have low priority in regard to the city as a whole. They might have to go out to an area where there is a crime or a health issue, far sooner than a plow will get to that street. They will need chains, or maybe 4 wheel drive vehicles, or access to an emergency plow. They might have to get down a loosely populated residential street that sanitation won't be plowing until the 8th, 10th, 12th hour of a storm. Emergencies need an alternative. They are usually there before the fire department and ambulances. The police planning should include access by these other agencies as the need arises.