Monday, December 27, 2010

Bloomberg Needs To Apologize To New Yorkers

Mayor Mike Bloomberg screwed up royally with his failure to announce a state of emergency for New York City. Prior mayors have lost public support on their handling of snowstorms, and Bloomberg put himself in poor company for his nonchalance over this major snowstorm. Thankfully the Sanitation Department carried the day although it is still hampered by the sheer volume of snow that fell.

Transportation is a mess. Subway service was canceled systemwide overnight and are dealing with ongoing problems. MTA buses are not operating in large parts of the city. Airports are closed and thousands of flights are canceled. JFK and Newark Liberty are scheduled to reopen to flights at 6pm.

Buses, ambulances, police cars, and fire engines have been stuck in various parts of the city, and yet the Mayor doesn't declare a state of emergency?

What exactly was he waiting for? If there was a scenario that demanded a state of emergency, this was it so that city services could get on top of the situation and begin the difficult task of clearing snow from essential areas.

New York City and its suburbs got 20-30 inches of snow. Central Park got 20 inches of snow, putting this as the 5th worst snowstorm in city history since records have been kept. While some main streets like Broadway in Manhattan are clear to grade, side streets are a disaster and sidewalks are a mess.

The MTA needs to answer to why they were dispatching new buses when hundreds were stuck on various routes. 400 buses were stuck in the snowstorm. More than 500 people were stuck on various subway trains between stations because of the snow. That's unacceptable. Everyone had access to the weather reports as the storm was developing and intensifying. They knew that the worst of the storm would occur overnight. That should have put everyone on notice to button up and bunker down where it was safe, rather than attempting to travel.

Then, there's the question of where people can put all that snow. Cars are snowed in, and some people abandoned their vehicles when they got stuck on side streets, complicating the snow clearance.

Taken together, this should have resulted in a state of emergency, which would have reduced the need for people to be out on the streets and enabled the Sanitation Department to get on the roads when there was little traffic to complicate matters.

To add insult to injury, New Yorkers have to clear their sidewalks or else face fines from the City.
Businesses are also vulnerable and could face fines ranging from $100 to $350, reports CBS 2’s Magee Hickey.

The Buildings Department also advises that property owners safely remove ice and snow from rooftops as well.

Water from the melting snow can collect on roofs and present a threat to the structural integrity of the building, and the colder temperatures may lead to the water to form icicles that could pose a threat to public safety if not removed.

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