Community Board 11 blasts city over snow removal

March 16, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Homeowners are responsible for shoveling snow off sidewalks but the city is supposed to clear the streets. Community Board 11 officials charged that the Dept. of Sanitation’s snow removal efforts were not up to par this winter. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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Bensonhurst and Bath Beach were treated like second class citizens by New York City this winter, according to officials at Community Board 11, who charged that the Department of Sanitation was slow to plow the white stuff off local streets after major snowstorms.

“This district had a very uneven performance by the Sanitation Department this winter,” Bill Guarinello, the community board’s chairman, told his members at their monthly meeting at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare at 1740 84th St. on March 11. The board represents Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.

Guarinello said that after some major snowstorms during the winter of 2014-2015, hardly any sanitation salt spreaders were seen on local streets. Conversely, the Sanitation Dept. threw tons of salt on the streets after minor snow storms that didn’t leave much snow on the ground at all, he said. “Either we got pounded with salt for three inches of snow or we got no salt at all,” he said.

Salt is spread on streets to melt the snow and ice, according to the website

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But too much salt is not a good thing, according to Marnee Elias-Pavia, the board’s district manager. It can seep through a roadway and cause potholes and other types of severe damage, she said.

Another factor that played a role in the condition of Community Board 11’s streets this winter was the re-deployment of Sanitation Dept. resources, Guarinello said. Workers who are normally assigned to remove snow from Bensonhurst and Bath Beach streets were re-deployed to clear arterial highways not only in Community Board 11, but in Community Board 10 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights) as well, he said.

“Our resources were diverted to Bay Ridge,” he said. “There’s something wrong with this formula.”

Guarinello, who lives near 14th Avenue, the dividing line between community boards 11 and 10, said he became frustrated with the slow pace of snow removal in his district when he looked across 14th Avenue at the streets in Community Board 10’s jurisdiction after one snowstorm and saw that they had been plowed. “You saw blacktop,” he said.

Kathy Dawkins, a spokeswoman for the Sanitation Dept., defended the agency’s snow removal efforts.

“Before the first snowflake hits the ground, the department’s salt spreaders are ready to go. When snow does start to fall, our salt spreaders are immediately dispatched throughout the five boroughs. As soon as the weather forecast predicts snow accumulation of two or more inches, we start fitting our collection trucks with plows so they are ready to go to work. This is done in each of the 59 sanitation districts throughout the city. Each district has its own contingent of spreaders and plows,” she wrote in an email to the Brooklyn Eagle.

“Our borough and district superintendents are directed to closely monitor snow clearing operations in their areas. The department constantly reviews practices and procedures regarding snow operations, always maintaining as a priority the well-being of the public. It is important to keep in mind that it does take some time after the snow stops falling for streets to be cleared of snow or for spreaders to complete their routes. Also be aware that although a street has been plowed, it may not necessarily be black top. It all depends upon how many inches of snow has fallen, the temperature and the amount of traffic,” Dawkins wrote.


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