New York City Snow Plow
Queens Councilman Rory Lancman drove the streets of Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest and Kew Gardens Hills as snow fell overnight, comparing conditions to what was reported on the PlowNYC site.
Data showed that neighborhood streets had been recently plowed, but Lancman said there was no way that was accurate.
“The streets clearly hadn’t been touched in many, many hours, ” said Lancman (D-Queens), who said the same glitch happened during last year’s massive blizzard. “Clearly, there hasn’t been any progress made since last year’s failures. If PlowNYC can’t get it right with a minor snowfall like this, it suggests some serious problems coming when we have a real snowstorm later in the season.”
He called for a City Council hearing on the issue, saying he was also worried that the Sanitation Department was using inaccurate data to deploy its snow cleanup resources.
Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said streets were virtually all plowed by the overnight hours Saturday into Sunday, and there were no reports of widespread problems with the plow app.
Snowfall topped out at 7.5 inches recorded at JFK Airport, with smaller totals elsewhere in the city.
“We’re basically at 99.999% complete through the overnight hours. Today we’re just going back out to do that cleanup work, ” Garcia told the Daily News, adding crews Sunday were focused on re-plowing streets where people digging out cars dumped snow in the street, and clearing crosswalks and corners.
“The streets have been clear basically since this morning. We’re just trying to clean it up so it’s a little bit nicer.”
She said the department would look into Lancman’s complaint about PlowNYC but found the information generally accurate.
“The reports we’re getting from the field match what we were seeing from the GPS, ” she said, though there can be occasional glitches when tall buildings disrupt GPS readings.
“We didn’t see anything like that happening systemwide. We didn’t hear that across the city, that we were overstating what had been plowed, ” she said. “I don’t think there’s a systemic issue here. If he had a particular issue, we’ll look at it.”
Sanitation does not primarily deploy its resources based on the site, she added, but uses it as a backup to catch blocks that might have been missed. “We use it as basically a test on us, a check on us, ” she said.