Tracie Hunte, Assistant Producer, WNYC News
Tracie Hunte is an Assistant Producer in the WNYC Newsroom.
Outer borough residents have been complaining for days they've been neglected by the city's snow plows. Now, Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio says he has the data to back them up.
His office received 901 complaints in the three days following the storm. Some 520 came from Brooklyn alone. Manhattan residents logged only nine complaints.
"We had substantial problems in Queens, substantial problems in Staten Island," DeBlasio said. "Which begs the question, why weren't resources moved from Manhattan to outer borough neighborhoods?"
Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted on WOR Radio Friday morning that some neighborhoods got better snow removal than others—though he said that might have been because the snow fell or drifted differently throughout the city.
"Some neighborhoods, it was perfect. And in some neighborhoods, it was terrible and then all gradations in the middle," the mayor said.
Plows and salt trucks will continue to work on smaller streets this weekend, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty says. Parking meter rules go back into effect on Monday, and crews will begin clearing snow from those spaces. Alternate side parking rules will still be suspended.
The sanitation department will also begin limited trash pick up beginning Monday. Doherty advised New Yorkers to dig out their trash cans.
DeBlasio released his report on snow complaints Friday. His staff compiled the complaints from calls to his office and message's left on the Public Advocate's website and Facebook page. Queens residents made 309 complaints and Staten Island and the Bronx made 31 and 29 respectively.
Many of the calls were from snowbound residents unable to leave their homes to receive medical care.
"Those calls are particularly troubling as you have average New Yorkers saying I'm trying to get to a hospital and I literally can't do it," DeBlasio said.
DeBlasio says he plans to use the report to make recommendations to the city on how better to respond to the next storm, like declaring a state of emergency and hiring additional operators to field 911 and 311 calls.
"This wasn't your garden variety crisis," he said. "This [storm] was much bigger, much faster and it needed a different response."
A mayoral spokesman wouldn't comment on the report specifically. Mayor Bloomberg has acknowledged the snow removal effort was unacceptable and said there will be an "extensive review" of what went wrong.