NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Last week, city officials faced criticism over the slow storm response.
Now residents are still complaining the city hasn’t cleaned up the mess of downed trees across the city.
City crews are still working to clean up fallen trees and branches four days after the first storm of the season brought the Tri-State Area to a halt.
Residents on the Upper East Side say the response is taking too long.
“We are frustrated because it’s a mess,” a man named Steve told CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge. “We have visitors they come with the cars. It’s blocking our entrance. It’s annoying.”
Since Thursday’s storm, the Parks Department says it has received more than 3,000 calls for fallen trees and debris.
Officials say 80 percent of them have been checked out, but fewer than half have been resolved.
“This is more trees down from the storm in the city than I think I’ve ever seen,” said Upper East Side resident Sarah Eli. “I’m surprised they are still down on the block. I feel like it could be handled faster.”
The Parks Department says the slowdown is partly to blame on dozens of duplicate calls, some of which are very minor. They have to inspect each one to prioritize the most serious: For example, cases where large branches are still at risk of falling, or where they’re blocking the road or bike path.
“We don’t want to get into harm’s way, so of course if those branches were picked up a little quicker we have a much smoother ride,” said cyclist Jake Rodriguez.
One building maintenance person Duddridge spoke with said if the city doesn’t remove the downed branches he’ll have to call a private company, which will end up costing tenants money.
“It’s not really nice, you have to pay for something which should be free,” Steve said.
Drivers say the piles of debris are also taking up the already limited number of parking spots. They won’t open up again fast: Parks officials estimate will take until at least the end of the week.
Right now, the Parks Department says they have about 20 crews and 100 cutters working around the clock.