The snow made for misery on the roads all around the area. In some cases, commute times tripled — if not more.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, commuting to Long Island from the city Tuesday was simply ugly. Tires spun, struggling to gain traction, and some drivers needed a push on the Long Island Expressway.
“Roads are kind of rough out here,” said Vernon Alonzo of Coram after exiting the expressway. “Pretty nasty out there right now.”
“I drive very slow. I had a very bad experience with weather,” added Andrew Bell of Westbury. “I spun around a couple of times.”
For Robert Sorbi, normal commute times quadrupled.
“I started in Long Island City at 5 and just getting off here now,” he said at 9:30 p.m. Sorbi called his commute a “nightmare.”
Teams of plows did as best they could to stay ahead of the snow. But hours after the storm began, the highway was still buried.
Accidents and spinouts were also frequent.
“As you can see, I just rear-ended a lady by accident. I even hit the emergency brake,” said Mike Humpf of West Babylon. “Brutal.”
State officials decided to keep the roads open, unlike the New Year’s storm when a travel ban was issued for the Long Island Expressway.
But drivers said they paid the price.
“Horrendous,” a woman said. “That’s the best way to describe it – horrendous.”
And in the city, complaints about unplowed streets mounted in many areas of the city Tuesday night, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“Mayor, if you’re listening, please plow these streets,” said Sonny Budharaja of Harlem.
Budharaja said he drove for three hours around Manhattan Tuesday, stuck in gridlock and navigating through snow filled streets.
CBS 2 found an inch or more of untouched snow on avenues, and snowpack coating several side streets.
“None of the streets have been plowed, like, no matter which way you go, it’s like this everywhere,” he said. “I guess the mayor is focusing more on other boroughs like last time.”
De Blasio emphasized at the news conference that plows were out everywhere.
“I want to emphasize that the combination of the intensifying snow and the fact that it is hitting, of course, as most people’s vehicles have been on the streets, is a tough combination,” de Blasio said. “Sanitation is responding with everything they’ve got.”
But Budharaja said it did not seem that way.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. This is the first time,” he said. “I’ve been living in New York City for 30 years. This is horrendous.”
It was also a long night in New Jersey, from Bergen County to the Jersey Store. As CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, Matthew Narvaez of Hackensack decide to dodge most of the storm by hunkering down at the Garden State Plaza Mall.
“We actually haven’t been out on the roads in a while, because we got here hours ago, so now it will be interesting trying to get home,” he said.
And on the Jersey Shore, Monmouth County Emergency Management deployed more than 100 plows and reduced the speed limit everywhere to 35 mph. But with grid locked traffic and blowing snow those traveling the garden state parkway couldn’t get going faster than 10 mph.
The snowstorm was also blamed for outages to about 1,000 Public Service Electric & Gas customers in New Jersey. As of 9:45 p.m., most of the outages – about 950 – were in the Middlesex County towns of Edison and Highland Park, where a wire was damaged.
By 10:45 p.m., the wire had been repaired and only scattered outages were reported.
And when CBS 2’s Dave Carlin left Queens for Westchester County, the approach to the Whitestone Bridge was closed for snow removal on the Hutchinson Parkway.
Nearby in the Bronx, a moving van towing a car had barely enough room to slip under the low overpasses, including one at Orchard Beach Road.
Exiting the Cross-County parkway in Mount Vernon, an electronic sign had a short and simple message – “take it slow,” But very few people were around to see it.
And in Bronxville, the center of town was picturesque and quiet. Signs of life were spotted at the train station, where drivers were wishing they’d stayed home.