Mayor: More could have been done for Upper East Side - FOX 13 News

Snow storm

Mayor: More could have been done for Upper East Side

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - Mayor Bill de Blasio is acknowledging that more could have been done to keep the streets of the Upper East Side clear in Tuesday's winter storm after hearing criticism about unplowed roads that brought traffic to a crawl.

Traffic congestion was particularly bad at the bridges and tunnels.

New Yorkers took to Twitter to vent about the hours-long delays getting only a few blocks during the Tuesday evening commute which actually began in the early afternoon. Commuters and motorists were trying to get out of town just as the snow began coming down.

"Everybody was struck in traffic at the same time," said NYC Dept. of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty.

The New York Post reported on Wednesday that the city's wealthiest neighborhoods appeared to have been intentionally ignored by the de Blasio administration.

The Democrat and progressive ran a campaign calling for the end of "a tale of two cities" where wealthy New Yorkers were catered to while others were ignored.

During a news conference late Wednesday morning, de Blasio said "no one was treated differently" when it comes to snow cleanup and anyone who thought otherwise was being disrespectful to sanitation workers.

But by Wednesday evening, the mayor's office release a statement saying that de Blasio went to survey the neighborhood himself.

"After hearing concerns about street conditions on the Upper East Side, I headed to the area to survey the streets for myself, and to hear from residents directly. While the overall storm response across the city was well-executed, after inspecting the area and listening to concerns from residents earlier today, I determined more could have been done to serve the Upper East Side," de Blasio said in a statement. "I have instructed the Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation to double-down on cleanup efforts on the Upper East Side, and as a result, 30 vehicles and nearly 40 sanitation workers have been deployed to the area to finish the cleanup. Our crews will remain on the streets around the clock until the roadways are clear in every neighborhood, in every borough, across New York City."

A glance at the city's plow tracking service at about 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday showed a large swath of Manhattan, particularly the Upper East Side and  East 56th Street to East 96th Street, had not been plowed.

Doherty said the map was inaccurate due to a faulty GPS.

"We in sanitation have an operating plan every borough gets their due share of the operation. In Manhattan, most of the time the operation works better,"  Doherty said. You have a nice grid of block. Where you have curves and dead end streets, it is much more difficult."

There were reports of buses, ambulances and cars stuck along streets on the Upper East Side.
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