City council passes storm response legislation

April 6, 2011 8:23:47 PM PDT
It's hard to forget the holiday blizzard that dumped 20 inches of snow and paralyzed New York City.

It took several days before many streets were even plowed.

The city council passed legislation Wednesday night to make sure that the same mistakes don't happen again.

Last December, the sidewalks were blanketed with almost two feet of snow.

Cars and buses were stuck on 13th Avenue for days.

Many of the people who live in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn are still fuming.

"It looked like one big coffee break, three to four days there was still snow everywhere," said Salvatore Intravaia, a Dyker Heights resident.

More than three months after the December blizzard, Dyker Heights homeowners are still recounting the failure of the city to plow the roads.

In this neighborhood and others, cars, buses and even ambulances with patients inside were stranded.

"It was awful, worst response I've ever seen, no response at all," a resident said.

The City Council overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday designed to improve the city's response to future storms.

"I don't believe them, they left is over here a long time, I'm a taxpaying person and I couldn't get to work for four days and I lost a lot of money," said Vinny Amado, a Dyker Heights resident.

Amado took photos of his car on 13th Avenue, still snowbound three days after the storm ended.

The reform package passed Wednesday requires city agencies to post their snow removal plans online.

It also establishes a volunteer registry of people willing to shovel for seniors, improves 311's response to high call volume during the storm, and calls for more ambulances.

"These were ideas we heard from New Yorkers and it's a credit to them that they've kept pushing for reform," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.

Mayor Bloomberg plans to sign the measures into law.

Since the botched December response, the city has also added GPS to sanitation trucks and sent out workers with cameras to track snow removal in real-time.

Part of this package of legislation that did not pass was a requirement that the mayor tell the city when he is out of town.