Hoping to avoid a repeat of last January's disastrous cleanup in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, Sanitation Officials say they have made significant changes to the snow removal process.
The agency has purchased $21 million of new equipment to handle some of the narrow streets that large trucks cannot navigate and to replace private contractors for routine plowing.
"We have enough equipment that we can handle the tertiary streets more effectively and more efficiently," said Henry Ehrhardt Director of Community Affairs for the Department of Sanitation. "We will still use private contractors on call for plowing and hauling operations, but all of the snow plowing and salting as far as regular operations are concerned will be done by department personnel this year."
And that personnel has received a significant amount of training compared to previous years. Several drills were on the street and not at a training facility.
"In the past, the way we did snow training was at our training center in Brooklyn and sometimes we had the training during the week so as much as we wanted to be focused on the training we really couldn't as much as we did," said one sanitation official.
New equipment to clear bike lanes, crosswalks and bus stops has also been added. And the city has updated its GPS technology to better inform the public about which streets have been plowed.