Residents Not Buying Sanitation Dept.'s Rationale For Not Cleaning Streets Sooner

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Taking advantage of a brief “warm” spell, an army of sanitation workers spent all day Wednesday trying to clear city streets of ice and snowthat had been there for weeks

But as CBS2’s Marcia Kramer found out, many residents were wondering why they had not seen trucks and plows sooner.

“This time it was really bad and a lot of accidents. I really don’t understand why it didn’t happen quicker,” said Sandra Gonzalez of the Upper East Side.

They were dog walkers, nannies and people who just want to cross the street. All of them were wondering why the streets were filled with the debris of winter, even though it has not snowed recently.

What people were complaining about was snow and ice that made it really dangerous to walk.

Until Wednesday the Department of Sanitation had not done much street cleaning. Alternate side of the street parking rules were suspended for 22 of 25 days. The official reason grounding snow removers was the continued cold temperatures.

“It really helps to be in at least the high 20s or low 30s,” Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said. “It’s really when you are down in the teens and below where the salt is really not effective.”

But Wednesday’s mini-warming trend mobilized an army of nearly 400 street sweepers, salt spreaders, reverse plows and front-end loaders. Alternate side of the street parking rules were in effect and tickets were handed out to those who got in the way of the equipment.

“I don’t know what took the city so long. It’s really messy. The traffic gets all backed up,” one Upper West Side resident said.

“The ice, particularly if you park on the street, is really oppressive,” added resident Barry Protter. “I’m surprised they haven’t removed the ice and snow quicker.”

“This is ridiculous. You should see in the Bronx. You have to walk on the street half the time, not on the sidewalk,” Bronx resident Marietta Phoenix said.

Sanitation officials told Kramer there were two days last week when they could have plowed, but one was Ash Wednesday and the other was the Lunar New Year, two days when alternate side of the street parking regulations are traditionally suspended.

If plows didn’t get to your neighborhood on Wednesday you may have to wait a little longer. The city said alternate side parking will be suspended again Thursday “due to cold weather conditions,” Kramer reported.

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