Let it snow! Because the Department of Sanitation will be prepared this time around, they promise.
General Superintendent Frank Lumia visited Community Board 6 on Wednesday to assure the board and the public that should a blizzard strike in 2012, New York won’t look like a scene out of “The Day After Tomorrow.”
Lumia touted a number of key changes to the Department of Sanitation’s operating procedures for blizzard conditions.
Queens slowed to a crawl because of unplowed roads, trucks stuck in snow banks and unsalted streets.
The chaos sewn by the blizzard of 2010 was so profligate that the city
Through those hearings, changes were introduced that are already in place, Lumia told board members.
Most importantly, he said, is the addition of GPS locators on all Sanitation trucks so the department knows where they are deployed at all times — and if they need a tow.
In addition, Lumia said drivers and sanitation workers have been newly trained in the art of getting one of their rigs out of a tough spot.
“We’ve increased the level of training, driver training, for how to get trucks out of the snow so they don’t have to wait on a tow,” Lumia said. “All the drivers have been instructed in how to properly use the traction controls so they can get out themselves.”
Another crucial addition to snow removal in Queens will be the mobilization of snow removal contractors before storms hit, rather than waiting for disaster to strike.
Lumia said that contractors in Community Board 6 — which have been hired in advance based on a bidding process — already know which streets they need to plow and when, and will be on call as a storm is inbound, rather than after the snowdrifts pile up.
He added that this method will keep secondary and tertiary streets clear, as well as the main drags — one of the biggest complaints of the most recent blizzard.
“Private contractors will be notified in advance to report, and they’ll go right out and they’ll start right with those tertiary streets,” he said. “There won’t be any waiting to do those anymore.”
During the blizzard of 2010, residents complained that side roads and back streets were snowed over for weeks after the storm because of city priorities.