With many roads across southwestern Queens unplowed for days after the Blizzard of 2016 hit the city, representatives were pleased to see the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) finally getting around to clearing residential streets of snow.
After Mayor Bill de Blasio announced enhanced efforts to clean up Queens during a Monday press conference, DSNY deployed more plows focused specifically on the “World’s Borough.”
“The city sent out 15 front end loaders, so that will give you an indication of where they can reach,” said Vincent Arcuri, chairperson of Community Board 5 (CB 5). “But they did get down many of the blocks last night with the salters and plows. They also have 15 garbage truck plows and 11 salters for this district.”
Woodhaven, which saw very little initial response to the storm, finally saw some progress.
“I walked around Woodhaven for a few hours today and an immense amount of work was done in Woodhaven last night,” said Alex Blenkinsopp, director of communications for the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA). “Dozens of streets that were impassable last night were clear by this morning. It should not have been necessary to pack an immense amount of work into one night. I feel like [DSNY] created an enormous workload for themselves.”
Arcuri and Blenkinsopp had ideas on what caused the slow response from the city and how the city can be better prepared for another snowstorm.
“When you checked the plow-tracker, each truck is equipped with a GPS, so they know where they plows have been, but not what they have done,” Arcuri said. “I think that the major part of the problem is communication.”
“It’s obviously a very difficult situation. It doesn’t make sense for residential side streets of some neighborhoods get plowed three of four times, and our residential side streets don’t get plowed once,” Blenkinsopp added. “What I’ve seen over the past few days makes me wonder if the equipment being used is right. I wonder if there are better ways to leverage for better equipment and resources.”