Blizzard of 2016 was too much, too soon for Ridgewood

There was enough snow on 71st Avenue in Ridgewood for residents to create a large igloo in the middle of the street.
Photo via Facebook/Jennifer Sitarevich

Like most other neighborhoods in Queens, Ridgewood’s main arteries — such as Myrtle Avenue and Fresh Pond Road — are relatively clear following the Blizzard of 2016, but many residential side streets were impassible as of Monday morning.

Evidence of this could be found in a photo shared on The Courier’s Facebook page that showed a large igloo created out of a snowbank in the middle of 71st Avenue. Entire sections of side streets were largely untouched during the storm and impossible to travel, according to Ted Renz of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District.

Businesses on Myrtle Avenue, however, were open Monday morning in spite of the complications experienced on side streets, Renz said. The biggest obstacle for many commuters were bus shelters that were blocked in with snow; commuters were forced in many instances to wait in the street for buses.

For its part, BID workers kept pathways in public plazas and ADA-accessible pedestrian ramps clear. But the ramps, he noted, were blocked off again as a result of passing snow plows on Myrtle Avenue.

“The shopkeepers are keeping the sidewalks clear,” he added, referring to a point Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned on Monday regarding the city cracking down on home and business owners who failed to shovel in front of their properties.

The main issue for Ridgewood and other communities in the Community Board 5 area continues to be streets obstructed with snow. Complaints are spread throughout the board’s confines, according to CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano.

The situation seemed to be deja vu all over again for the city. Giordano recalled similar problems affecting the CB 5 area and other parts of New York City following the after-Christmas blizzard of 2010. In that storm, the city received more than 20 inches of snow, most of which fell at such an intense rate that Sanitation Department snow plows and salt spreaders struggled to keep up.

As late as Friday night, forecasts for the Blizzard of 2016, Giordano pointed out, called for anywhere between 8 and 12 inches of snow across the five boroughs. But the storm rapidly intensified on Saturday and dumped almost three times as much snow in Queens as predicted. To his knowledge, the Sanitation Department deployed in CB 5 11 salt spreaders and 20 garbage trucks equipped with snow plows.

He indicated the city may have provided enough personnel to deal with a foot of snow, but may not have been able to assign additional resources to deal with the suddenly heavier-than-expected snowfall — which, at points on Saturday, fell at rates of 3 inches per hour.

“If the forecast is a third or a half of what actually happens, and you don’t call in enough personnel to drive those trucks with plows, you’re going to be behind right away,” he told The Courier.

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