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Outer Borough Fury of NYC Snow Removal
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29 Dec 2010 08:42 PM EST

- by Vania Andre, Staff Writer; Image: Roads in Manhattan (left) are, for the most part, completely plowed whereas roads in Queens (right) and in the other boroughs have not beein paid as much attention, according to some of Mayor Bloomberg's detractors

Residents experienced the sixth worst blizzard on record to hit NYC this past Sunday.  About 2 feet of snow crippled New York on Monday, nearly shutting the city down.  Abandoned cars littered the streets, and stalled subways aroused aggravation in many New Yorkers.

Residents called in complaints to city officials and the city’s 311 hotline representatives. New Yorkers were simply outraged by the city’s handling of the clean up efforts, particularly holding Mayor Michael Bloomberg responsible.

It wasn’t long until residents of the outer boroughs (every borough other than Manhattan) took to social media sites such as twitter and facebook to vent their frustrations towards Mayor Bloomberg for the practically non-existent snow removal efforts in their neighborhoods.  New Yorkers tweeted:

“Brooklyn, Queens, & da Bronx were in a State of emergency..but of-course times-square was cleared. Thanks Mayor Bloomberg 4 nothing.#IDIOT" - @Carlitokingston

“You really [expletive] up Mayor Bloomberg & quit coming on tv & telling us 2 be patient. NY has 5 boroughs or have u forgotten” - @AdamsMom76

“NY streets are still SUCH a mess. Mayor Bloomberg, quit lying to your city. 99% of the roads are NOT cleared up. U shld try driving on them” - @TansuAkmanDuffy

In response to the criticisms and complaints, Mayor Bloomberg said in a press conference today, “People should have gone to the park and enjoyed this time with their families.”

Many New Yorkers perceived Mayor Bloomberg’s response to be defensive and arrogant, telling people to be patient and that “the world has not come to an end.”

New York politicians from the outer boroughs are banding together to address Mayor Bloomberg’s response to the blizzard. The city neglected the other boroughs and concentrated their efforts and resources on Manhattan, they argue.

Similar sentiments were echoed throughout the outer boroughs.

David G. Greenfield, council member for the 44th District, said, “I’ve never seen the streets this way after a major snowstorm.  Here in the outer boroughs we are used to being the step-children of Manhattan and waiting for available plows, but there are major streets in my district that haven’t seen a plow at all.”

Councilmember Greenfield represents Bensonhurst, Boro Park and Midwood, all of which are in Brooklyn.

Daniel Halloran, council member for the 19th District, said, “The outer boroughs are always the second string…The priority has always been to clear Manhattan first.”

For these politicians, this is not just a matter of inconvenience for residents; it puts their lives at risk because they are virtually inaccessible to emergency workers and police because roads are blocked, especially in areas where there is only one road in and out of the neighborhood.

In rebuttal of favoritism claims, city officials insist that their snow removal efforts and strategies have nothing to do with demographic or geographic preferences. They do not pick and choose which neighborhoods to plow first based on the neighborhood’s demographics.  “I care about all parts of the city” said Mayor Bloomberg.

According to city officials, streets are divided into three categories, arterial, secondary and tertiary. Arterial roads are priority, with secondary and tertiary following.  Arterial roads are major streets which support high capacity transportation in urban areas. These are the roads in which there are major bus routes.

Secondary roads do not have as much traffic as arterial roads and connect main streets within a community to the arterial roads.  Tertiary roads are residential streets with little traffic that connect to secondary roads.  Manhattan is tended to first because of the amount of arterial roads that run through the borough.

However, many New Yorkers are not impressed by Mayor Bloomberg or his administration’s explanations.  Because of unplowed streets and slow response, mass transit was crippled, emergency workers were overwhelmingly delayed and deplorable street conditions stranded residents.

Still as of Tuesday night, a significant amount of streets in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island had not been plowed.  By Tuesday night, three days after the blizzard struck New York City, most of the streets in Manhattan had been completely cleared.

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