Friday, December 31, 2010

From Stranded to Outraged, Report Details New Yorkers Who Reached Out to Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio After Storm

Public Advocate catalogs almost 1,000 complaints, 33 pages of transcripts from calls and emails

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today released a report detailing 933 complaints compiled by his Office following the snow storm. The calls and emails detailed by the report point to a city in crisis, with New Yorkers unable to connect with operators at 311 and stranded beyond the reach of emergency services.

"For days, City government failed to provide the most fundamental services. People couldn't get a human being on the other end of the line at 311. Ambulances and fire trucks couldn't reach those in need. Hundreds of frustrated and scared New Yorkers turned to our office for help," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. "From what we heard, it's clear the City needs a new playbook to stay ahead of big storms."

The report catalogues 933 complaints fielded between 9am on Monday, December 27th and 5pm on Wednesday, December 29th. There were received via phone, email and Facebook, in addition to records from two City Council Members. The report shows:

  • 39% of total complaints came from South Brooklyn.
  • 69% of all complaints were lodged on Tuesday, when New Yorker awoke to unplowed streets for the second day in a row.
  • 18% of all complaints involved abandoned vehicles blocking streets.

The full report is available at:

The report includes 33 pages of transcripts from constituent phone calls and emails, reflecting the experiences of hundreds of New Yorkers, including:

"It’s already Tuesday afternoon, I need to take my child to the doctor, she has fever, and my car is still trapped and the entire block hasn't seen a single plow truck since the blizzard began on Sunday, and my block is a bus route also, this is crazy, and we’re all trapped indoors, please let me know if there’s any help in sight. Thanks."

"I'm disabled and I can't get off my block — walking, cab or otherwise."

"It is 48 hours after storm and we still have not seen a plow ... WHY????"

"No plows and/or salters have been thru this block. Access-A-Ride & other vehicles cannot get thru to get people to dialysis centers."

While a thorough review of the City’s storm response is necessary, the Public Advocate’s report makes the following urgent and immediate recommendations:

  • When plowing, prioritize emergency services and hospitals, many of which were blocked until Wednesday.
  • Work with off-street parking facilities to allow City residents to park while streets are being plowed during major snow events.
  • Increase capacity of 311 to handle weather emergencies