As many streets remain unplowed, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that the administration is doing “everything we possibly can” to get the city back to normal after Sunday’s 20-inch snowstorm shut down the airports and crippled mass transit.
“We know that many streets still have not been plowed and I saw that myself yesterday when I was visiting small businesses in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island,” Bloomberg said. “Sanitation workers and other people we brought in for services have been working long and hard hours and dealing with enormous obstacles to get our streets cleared.”
City officials are urging people to be patient as they wait for their streets to be cleared.
“If people dig out and they don’t pile the snow in the street again when they dig their car out of their driveway, it’s going to go quicker. But if they continue to throw it out into the street, we have to go back there to clear that street, and consequently we don’t get to that tertiary street or that dead end street that we’re trying to clear out,” said Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty.
Fire officials said the unplowed streets and abandoned cars made it harder to respond to emergencies, including a five-alarm, wind-whipped blaze at a Queens apartment building Monday night.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today that hundreds of city buses and dozens of ambulances remained stuck in the snow throughout the city, and officials predicted streets would not be clear for another 24 hours, a day later than they first promised.
“The bottom line is, we’re doing everything we possibly can and pulling every resource from every possible place to meet the unique challenges that this storm is posing,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg said the city simply does not have enough tow trucks and crews to dig out the abandoned vehicles, and has been pleading with private companies to help out.
“I don’t know that you ever get everything plowed because there are streets that aren’t even mapped,” Bloomberg said.
Some 1,000 vehicles have been removed from three major New York City-area expressways alone, he said. Emergency vehicles erred in trying to navigate unplowed streets during the storm, and New Yorkers also should not have ignored warnings and driven during that time, he said.
New Yorkers who have not been able to leave their block since Sunday are growing more frustrated as their streets remain clogged with snow.
“This is impossible,” one Bergen Beach resident said. “I’ve lived on this street for 24 years and never, ever, ever were we not plowed. We’re really frustrated no one on the block, no one in the neighborhood could move.”
“In Brooklyn, we are stranded, we can’t get to work, the buses aren’t running, the L train isn’t running and the streets have not been cleaned, not been plowed at all,” a Brownsville resident said.
City Councilman Daniel Dromm shook his head and came short of stamping his feet on two feet of unplowed snow on 75th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens.
“The fact that there has been no plow in this neighborhood at all is a disaster,” Dromm said. “It’s hard to understand why the city was so unprepared for this storm because we knew for a long time that it was coming.”
“This is going on day three and usually what we see is a plow coming down the street on the day when the storm starts, then you see something coming the day after and basically the third day you expect it to be clear but that’s not what happened here,” he added.