NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The city is investigating whether a new plowing strategy left some parts of Queens buried following a historic blizzard that dumped over 30 inches of snow in the borough.
Over the past few years, New York has phased in a two-tier system called sectoring. The city previously had primary, secondary and tertiary streets that ranked plowing priority.
Three boroughs, including Queens and Staten Island, use the new sectoring system.
Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia explained to CBS2’s Sonia Rincon that it’s designed to plow small sectors, which are measured by two-hour cycles instead of distance.
“Sectoring is conceptually really about keeping that truck in that neighborhood and never allowing snow to build up too fast,” Garcia said.
The system, however, was brand new to the parts of Queens that were left unplowed.
“Maybe we did something, designed it in a way that they didn’t actually complete it in two hours. Were there barriers? Did we have vehicles like passenger cars?” Garcia said, vowing that they will get to the bottom as to why the system didn’t work everywhere.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th) said the system might need to be changed again.
“These streets have looked like this for hundreds of years, so we know what we’re dealing with,” Van Bramer told CBS2 in Woodside. “The right equipment has to come down them. The right routes have to be run. And if something changed here and caused there to be a problem, then it needs to change again.”
Former sanitation commissioner John Doherty was surprised with the cleanup issues in Queens.
“I said, ‘Gee, that’s highly unusual. We never really had serious problems there,’’’ Doherty told CBS2. “And when I found out that Staten Island had done outstanding, I said, ‘Wow.’”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last week’s blizzard was the fourth most powerful snowstorm to slam the Northeast in 66 years.