The city has purchased new plows, spreaders and trucks to clean up snow following winter storms in northeast Queens, the Department of Sanitation’s deputy chief told Community Board 11 during the group’s monthly meeting last night.
The board’s members questioned James McGovern on how the city planned to clean up the major roadways and side streets during winter storms.
Sections of Douglaston, Bayside and Little Neck were buried in snow for several days late last year after a .
“Our first priority is to keep lifelines open,” said McGovern, the Sanitation Department’s deputy chief. “I consider our district to be one of the major lifelines of New York City. We’re on the cusp of Long Island. But it can be a lengthy process when a heavy snowfall combines with high winds.”
This year, northeast Queens has been given seven Department of Transportation plows, 16 spreaders and 15 truck plows.
McGovern defended the city’s response to last year’s blizzard, which .
“I think we did a great job last year, considering the amount of snow that was dropped in a 12-hour period,” he said of the snowstorm that struck the city in late December 2010. “Many workers stayed overnight to make sure they could get to work the next day.”
Not all CB 11 members agreed with McGovern’s assessment.
“Last year, Councilman [Dan] because he said people were goofing off and I witnessed it. It’s absolute sabotage. These people should have been fired.”
Skala said plows were not lowered to the street in some northeast Queens neighborhoods.
“If you don’t plow down to the pavement, there’s no point in plowing at all,” he said.
But McGovern said city workers assisting in the cleanup followed the rules.
“We teach guys to pick the plow up four to six inches off the ground because the weight of the snow is going to stop a truck in its tracks,” he said.
The Sanitation Department has been taking part in snowstorm drills in preparation for the winter, McGovern said.
Larry Sheehan, a Little Neck resident, called on the city to address an ongoing situation in which snow plows cannot clean the street in front of his neighborhood’s post office because mail trucks are parked in front of the building.
McGovern said his department would attempt to correct the situation.
During CB 11’s meeting, first vice chairwoman Christine Haider told attendees that a at Douglaston Parkway would be replaced by the city’s Department of Transportation.
CB 11 had asked the city to move the stop, but the DOT ended up taking down the stop.
“The bus stop is being returned,” Haider said. “It was a miscommunication.”