After receiving a blizzard of complaints during last year’s historic winter storm, city lawmakers said the de Blasio administration got snow plowing right on Thursday.
In the morning, the mayor tripped out to Queens, visiting neighborhoods that were practically forgotten after Winter Storm Jonas piled a record 27.8 inches of snowfall on the city in 2016.
“I liked what I saw,” said a confident de Blasio at a news conference afterward.
Thursday’s storm, the first real test since last winter, brought three inches of snowfall per hour at its peak intensity in the late morning. At 13.2 inches, Fresh Meadows, Queens, saw the most snowfall in the city, according to National Weather Service. Central Park saw more than 9 inches of the white stuff.
Snowfall began to taper off by 2 p.m. and outer borough plowing efforts seemed to earn positive reviews.
“A lot of streets are at blacktop right now,” said Staten Island Councilman Steven Matteo during a brief early afternoon interview. He joined officials in Dongan Hills for a tour. “I’ve been out all morning and Sanitation has done a very good job — especially in my district.”
Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer offered a similar assessment.
“So far we’ve had fewer people getting in touch. … My social media blew up last year after the storm with people pointing out problem spots,” he said. “Snow was piling up at unacceptable levels, blocking streets.”
After that mishandling, de Blasio pledged $21 million for new snow removal equipment, including smaller plows for residential roads — “little plows for little streets,” as the city called them.
Sanitation had more than 2,300 pieces of snow-fighting equipment in use on city streets during the day Thursday, according to the DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.
That included 163 haulsters — smaller salt spreaders with front-end plows specifically designed for narrow outer-borough streets — double the number available last year.
Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, gave a thumbs-up from his district. “Uptown streets have been thoroughly plowed and the vast majority are cleared,” he said in an email.
During a lighter snow storm earlier this year, Queens Councilman Rory Lancman criticized the city’s Plow NYC website for displaying what he claimed was inaccurate plowing information. But by Thursday evening, he said his district was in decent shape.
“We can see the plows are out — they’re out working,” said Lancman.
The problem, Matteo said, shifted to combating black ice overnight.
“It’s getting cold and the snow going to turn to ice,” he said. “So we have to still be cautions out there.”