By Connor Adams Sheets
Traversing Bell Boulevard became a little easier last week, thanks to the work of the Bayside Village Civic Association, local business owners and the city Sanitation Department.
Ever since the snow started piling up in December, it has become increasingly difficult to navigate the busy business district, which for several stretches this winter has looked more like a slushy, snowy moonscape than a nice place to shop and dine.
At times this winter, the snow was piled several feet high on both sides of the heavily trafficked thoroughfare, and ice-cold ponds of mucky, icy slurry crowded every corner, presenting precarious conditions for walkers and drivers alike.
For Greg Sullivan, director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District, that was not acceptable. The proprietors along the street were not able to do swift business due to the effort necessary for customers to make their ways to their doors.
And parking was atrocious, as any Baysider knows.
“The snow is killing us like everybody else. Bayside is already challenged for parking, so the snow is just making it worse,” Sullivan said last week. “About 60 percent of our spaces were blocked, which was really tough for people trying to shop or do business on Bell.”
So he called the Sanitation Department repeatedly, asking for workers to come to the area and clear the streets and sidewalks — and on the evening of Feb. 2, his request was granted.
Several dump trucks, front-end loaders and plows rolled into town about 11 p.m. that night and got to work on the snow and ice, working with the assistance of Sullivan and several business owners to clear the road. Snow was carted away from the street and drains were cleared in order to free parking spaces and allow the puddles to start to go back down.
Sullivan said he and the sanitation workers were outside until 6 a.m. tackling the packed precipitate, and that they only made it from Northern Boulevard to 39th Avenue in that time. The following evening, they returned and finished the job, doing the blocks from 39th to 35th avenues.
When they had finished, parking spaces were cleared up and down the street and the boulevard was easy to walk down once again.
“We pulled tons of snow out and they take it away and cart it to who knows where. It was like a caravan of huge dump trucks, a lot of plows and not just plows but Caterpillars — heavy duty equipment, lifting up the snow into the dump trucks and filling them up,” he said. “We freed up the spots and it also cleared the way for pedestrian traffic.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.