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Piles Of Ice And Garbage Linger, Traffic Jams Persist Days After Snowstorm

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Days after the snowstorm this week, snow was still piled high, traffic was jammed, and garbage was lining many city streets.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, people have been left doing acrobatics to get around from corners to bus stops.

In New Springville, Staten Island, city Department of Sanitation crews were spotted chipping away at ice encasing the bus stop in front of the Staten Island Mall.

The process takes time, and bus riders’ patience — unlike the ice — is wearing thin.

“It’s not safe,” said Gabrielle Serpe of Rossville, Staten Island.

“The bus left us right at a pile of ice, so I had to get off the bus onto ice — which is, of course, dangerous,” said Adam Cortes of New Springville.

Many sidewalks on Victory Boulevard were treacherous, and bus stops were icy solid.

CBS2’s Carlin measured one bus stop where the ice measured 12 inches deep at its lowest point and 25 inches deep at another spot.

Just one block down on Victory Boulevard, there were 15 inches of packed ice. It was like standing on a mini iceberg.

People who take the bus said it is forcing them to wait out on the street.

“I’ve seen a lot of older people struggle with this,” Cortes said. “They’ll have to go on the street to go around it.”

Bus driver Dennis Dasaro said he feels extra stress and responsibility.

“Of course, it’s hard on everybody,” Dasaro said.

Sanitation officials told CBS2 more than 2,000 emergency snow laborers have been on the job since Wednesday morning.

The department said: “This is a difficult and time consuming challenge given the cold temperatures. We are making steady progress.”

But piles of ice and snow were hardly the only problem. There were still a lot of brake lights Friday as drivers were forced to maneuver on streets that seemed more like a snowstorm obstacle course.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Midtown street closures from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade did not help. But New Yorkers hoping to bid farewell to the remnants of the storm were plumb out of luck, as traffic in many parts of the city was at a standstill.

“It’s terrible,” one woman said. “Nothing is moving.”

Huge piles of garbage were also everywhere. The Sanitation Department said the garbage backlog amounts to 20,000 tons.

The snow pileup has also caused traffic delays for the past three days, but Friday seemed to be exceptionally bad.

“Terrible – it’s really bad; never been this worse,” one driver said.

“Two hours now – two hours from one point to another,” another man said.

Another man said it took him two hours to get to Manhattan from Brooklyn, and a woman said it took an hour and a half to get from Franklin Street to Midtown when it usually takes 15 minutes.

The traffic was so bad that one taxi driver told CBS2’s Kramer Friday that he could only make nine trips when he can usually make 20.

And as to the garbage, it was piled up everywhere – and included everything, even part of a toilet and what appeared to be a kitchen sink.

The Sanitation Department said it resumed some collections Friday, even tweeting pictures of workers trying to catch up. But with more snow expected this weekend, officials said there could be even more delays.

Some people were understanding.

“I am sure they’re trying to still clean the streets,” one woman said.

But Sofia of Riverdale, the Bronx was not so forgiving.

“First of all, it smells awful – number one – and number two, it’s very unpleasant to walk by,” she said. “It’s scary to think there could be rodents out in the middle of the night.”

A Sanitation Department spokesman told CBS2’s Kramer that people are simply going to have to be patient because snow takes precedence over garbage.

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