New Yorkers outraged over unplowed roads

December 28, 2010 6:16:01 PM PST
Anger has reached a boiling point over the slow removal of snow on so many streets in New York City. The City Council is even calling for an investigation into why so many neighborhoods are still buried in snow.

Thirty-six hours after the blizzard blew out, buses and cars were still stuck in snow.

So many cars have been abandoned, and it's making the plowing difficult.

"It's already two days! He never touched side streets. It's terrible," Mel Giorgio said.

So with shaking hands, the 72-year-old Astoria resident decided to take his own shovel to the unplowed street in front of his home. Vehicles have been getting stuck here since Sunday.

"Only the main roads are plowed the side streets are not. Just a major mess," Robert Benjamin said.

Untouched streets are not just making it difficult for commerce, but impossible for those caring for the sick and elderly.

"The mayor needs to stop acting like Baghdad Bob and saying everything's okay. It's not okay, and we can see it with our own eyes," New York City Councilman Peter Vallone said.

The mayor said cuts to the sanitation department personnel had not affected snow removal efforts, yet cleanup is clearly hampered and many blame the mayor.

"He don't care about the other boroughs. It's all about the money, and Manhattan has the money. If this was Manhattan, it's gonna be cleaned," one resident said.

"Those cars have to be towed before plowing can resume, which really slows things up," he said.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg was much more contrite and less defensive about the city response on Tuesday, admitting the city doesn't have the resources to tackle the massive job easily.

"We can't do everything all the time, and we are doing the best we can," Mayor Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg's handling of the situation is not sitting well on Staten Island, where residents are boiling over.

"The block hasn't gotten snow plowed at all," Salvatore Lanza of Staten Island said. "So finally I took matters into my own hands. I told my wife I'll just come right out of the driveway and I'll just start plowing."

He and his neighbors on Latham Lane have seen snow plows drive by and clear out nearby Woodrow Road, but they haven't made any right turns onto their block.

"You see what they did? They blocked the intersection with the cross street," Mike Poracaro said.

"We gotta about three feet of snow we gotta over here. Nobody show up to clear it," Michael Iacono said.

One homeowner, who declined to give his last name, neatly plowed out his driveway and cars Monday morning, but doesn't have an SUV that can mow through three feet of snow like his neighbor.

"This is the height it was when it stopped snowing. It's a lot of snow, but there's no way you can drive out of here," he said.

In Tottenville, an MTA bus mustered it's way down snow-packed streets. Other Staten Island residents shared the aggravation of waiting for the plows to come.

Folks in Brooklyn are also fuming.

Brooklyn Heights side streets are just now seeing plows, while Flatbush and Bay Ridge still have acres of untouched snow.

On an special edition of Eyewitness News at 4:00 p.m., Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz says the system didn't work this time and he's demanding answers.

"This was a royal screw-up, to use the current terms," he said. It's made it tough for homeowners and workers trying to get back to normal. One Brooklyn insulation company rushed to help a client through impassible streets and then got stuck themselves.