Trash, ice line New York City streets as snow falls

Michelle Charlesworth reports on the wintry conditions in the Big Apple
February 18, 2014 9:23:01 AM PST
New York City has suspended alternate-side parking through the weekend due to solid ice and uncollected trash that line the streets, all while nuisance snow fell across the region Tuesday morning.

The New York City Department of Sanitation says the 1 to 3 inches of accumulation requires the staff to focus on salt spreading and possible plowing.

And because of the barrage of winter storms, there are thousands of tons of uncollected trash and recycling at curbsides. Officials say that each day of snow work, 12,000 tons of trash and recycling pile up. Last week, at least three days of collection were lost because of snow clearing for three separate storms. That means at least 36,000 tons of waste is sitting at curbside.

The men and women who clear snow from the 6,300 miles of city streets are the same workers who pick up that trash, and the workers who ordinarily operate the alternate-side parking mechanical brooms are needed to assist in resolving the backlogged trash issue.

Officials say the brooms cant sweep the alternate-side routes anyway because of all the icy buildup.

More than 55 inches of snow and ice have fallen since January 3, and a lot of it has solidified, making it impossible to plow or clear without several days of sustained warmth in order for our equipment to be effective in getting into the curbs and kicking out the blocks of ice and dirty snow. If the weather forecasts hold true, Sanitation might be able to start doing that in metered areas later this week and hopefully on all alternate side routes by next week.

But that isn't much consolation to residents who see garbage piled up in front of their buildings. In Park Slope, some of the piles of garbage seem to go on forever, and it has been on the street so long you can barely tell where the trash ends and the snow begins.

"Right now, it's looking pretty ugly," one resident said.

Alternate-side parking was suspended for 62 consecutive days following the blizzard of December 26, 2010.