By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Department of Sanitation did a good job of quickly plowing the streets of Bay Ridge and many other neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn after the snowstorm named Nemo that hit the Northeast on Friday night, according to local officials and civic leaders.
“It looks like our community has made it through the storm with only minor incidents,” said Ilene Sacco, president of the 68th Precinct Community Council in Bay Ridge. The neighborhood had between 6 and 7 inches of snow, according to estimates.
Capt. Richard DiBlasio, the commanding officer of the 68th Police Precinct, was driving through the streets of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, the two neighborhoods the precinct covers, to check on the street conditions.
“The main streets are pretty clear as are most of the secondary,” Sacco said, praising the efforts of the Dept. of Sanitation. “Most of our gas stations are now open and have gas,” she said.
It was the same story in communities like Borough Park and Midwood, according to City Councilman David Greenfield, who said he stopped by the local Dept. of Sanitation garage on Friday to make sure that crews were ready to handle the storm and had all the necessary resources.
Snow totals differed from neighborhood to neighborhood in Brooklyn. Heavy.com reported that Midwood had 8.3 inches of snow. Seven inches fell on Marine Park. Sheepshead Bay saw a total of 9 inches.
Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood) said the agency’s job was made easier by the fact that the sanitation garage responsible for Borough Park and surrounding communities was equipped with two new trucks for which he had obtained the funding.
The vehicles, known as haulster trucks, were paid for with $305,708 that Greenfield secured in last year’s budget to prevent a repeat of the Blizzard of 2010, when residents were left snowed in for nearly a full week. Haulster trucks are smaller and more versatile than full-size plows and are also used to clear narrow streets, dead-ends, crosswalks and to spread salt to prevent ice from forming, Greenfield said.
“I wanted to make sure that they have all the necessary equipment to quickly clear our streets of snow and ice, which is why I funded the purchase of two snow removal trucks in the city budget,” Greenfield said.
The Dept. of Sanitation had more than 250,000 tons of salt, 1,800 trucks and 350 spreaders ready to fight the storm.
Another lawmaker, Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) is already looking ahead to the next big storm.
Gentile joined Council Speaker Christine Quinn and colleagues in voting to authorize a study into the feasibility of burying overhead power lines underground in order to keep New Yorkers safe during severe weather emergencies.
“I have been calling on the city to bury all the remaining overhead power lines for many years,” Gentile said. “Hurricane Sandy proved just how vulnerable we are in South Brooklyn when it comes to these power lines,” he said.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, wind and falling trees took down about 150 miles of cable, knocking out power for over 2 million people, Gentile said.
“When a big storm hits the city, you can be sure the power will be knocked out somewhere in my district. We need to make every effort to improve the resiliency of our city’s electrical system, not just for South Brooklyn but for Staten Island, Queens and all of New York City,” Gentile said.
The bill would require the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability to conduct the study to determine areas of the city where burying power lines would be most advantageous.