Jan. 25, 2016 By Michael Florio
Mayor Bill de Blasio visited western Queens Monday morning following statements that he was not satisfied with cleanup efforts here during Winter Storm Jonas.
During a press conference on Sunday, the Mayor said that the City did not do a good enough job clearing the streets in Queens. He visited Astoria among other neighborhoods over the weekend, and said roads were in particularly poor condition in Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona.
Although he called the Department of Sanitation’s response “outstanding” overall, and commended the agency for diverting extra equipment to Queens, he said, “we’ve got more work to do.”
“I’m certainly not satisfied with the condition of some of the roads in some of our neighborhoods in Queens,” he said. “If I’m living in the [Queens] neighborhoods I mentioned… I’m not going to be happy this morning.”
De Blasio spent Monday morning touring Sunnyside and Woodside with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, “to ensure additional resources and snow plows were being assigned to [this area] to address hazardous conditions,” according a release from Van Bramer’s office.
“Since the storm hit, my office has been coordinating with the Administration to ensure all of the residential streets of Western Queens are cleared appropriately,” the Councilman said in a statement. “Following the tour with the Mayor this morning, I continued walking around the district speaking with constituents and seeing conditions firsthand around the Big Six and other areas of Sunnyside, Astoria, Long Island City and Woodside. It is obvious to me that our neighborhoods need more resources to get every residential street, sidewalk and bus shelter cleared.”
“My office will continue monitoring neighborhoods throughout the district and advocating on behalf of my constituents to make sure conditions are safe for commuters, students and seniors. While there are specific areas of my district that still need to be addressed with more plowing, I appreciate the Administration being responsive,” Van Bramer continued.
Other local politicians took the Mayor to task for the storm response in Queens over the weekend.
“We were clearly left behind by the Administration, and this is very frustrating,” State Sen. Jose Peralta said in a statement released Monday morning.
Peralta’s district includes Jackson Heights, which saw a tri-state area record high of 34 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“The City’s street plowing response to the record-breaking blizzard was poor in Queens, and this is unacceptable. Unfortunately, our borough, which is the City’s biggest, again got the short end of the stick,” Peralta added.
Peralta Tweeted on Sunday night that de Blasio should have closed schools in Queens, as many streets remained covered in snow, despite the claims that streets would be cleared by Monday morning.
“@BilldeBlasio should close schools tomorrow,” his Tweet read. “The streets are not plowed. Parents will have a hard time dropping off children.”
Even after de Blasio and his administration promised that the streets in Queens would be clear by Monday morning, they were not, according to Peralta.
“This Administration promised that the streets were going to be cleaned and plowed by this morning, but this is not the case.”
Assemblyman Francisco Moya echoed those sentiments.
“The City’s storm response has been unacceptable,” he said. “We were given assurances that the streets of Queens would be plowed by Monday morning and yet many streets remain covered in snow. Our borough deserves better,” he said.
Councilman Costa Constantinides urged residents to report any areas that still need to be plowed.
“We’ve been working with DSNY and the Mayor’s Office to expedite this ongoing process at any particular areas where plowing was delayed,” he said.
“As we continue to clear streets and sidewalks throughout the neighborhood, residents can report icy areas online at on.nyc.gov/1he7h74 or to our office at 718-274-4500.”