As a snowstorm approaches with the power to pummel parts of New York with several inches, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking no chances of another political beating.
Less than two weeks after a post-Christmas blizzard paralyzed the city and its airports for days, the beleaguered mayor on Thursday detailed new and experimental plans for cleanup after the coming storm, including GPS devices on 50 sanitation trucks in Brooklyn, which was among the spots hardest hit by the last storm and worst neglected by the city.
"I realize there were problems with the city's snow-cleaning efforts last week," he said. "We want to assure all New Yorkers that we are doing everything in our power to make sure we don't experience those kinds of problems again."
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for New York City and parts of New Jersey, beginning this morning. Connecticut, New York's suburban Hudson Valley and eastern Long Island were under a more-serious winter storm watch. In New York City, 2 to 5 inches of light snow were forecast for today.
The late-December storms in the East caused the cancellation of more than 10,000 flights and delayed travel plans for hundreds of thousands of passengers.
Major U.S. airlines are again warning of delays and cancellations and waiving the usual fees to change flights. American, United and Continental all say there could be travel disruptions at the large New York-area airports: Newark, LaGuardia and Kennedy.
Last month's storm dumped 2 feet of snow in some places. Many streets in boroughs outside Manhattan went unplowed for days, and ambulances and buses got stuck in the snow. Calls to 911 backed up, and some people who needed urgent medical care did not get it. The snow melted days later, revealing huge piles of trash that garbage trucks hadn't been able to reach.
The pilot GPS devices in Brooklyn, Bloomberg said, will let officials track plows and also let sanitation workers in the field report problems, like stuck cars, with exact locations.