Like the rest of the city, and most of the tri-state area, southern Brooklyn saw its fair share of backup Thursday evening, Nov. 15 thanks to the first snowfall of the season.
Amidst the storm, which started at around 1 p.m. and only strengthened throughout the day, traffic snarled along the Belt Parkway and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, resulting in an overspill onto Ridge streets, and lines for local buses such as the S79 and S53 that wrapped around street corners.
Friday morning, fallen tree limbs still littered many of Bay Ridge’s streets, some even blocking off portions of its major thoroughfares. However, this wasn’t an isolated issue. Neighborhoods across Brooklyn are still dealing with scattered tree parts as they head into the weekend.
Elected officials from both sides of the aisle are wondering what happened.
“[It’s] safe to say somebody dropped the ball,” Councilmember Justin Brannan, who represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst, wrote on social media Thursday night. “No way a few inches of slush should bring the greatest city in the world to its knees.
“I’ve got trees down. I’ve got people telling me it took them [four] hours to get home. And not a snow plow in sight,” he went on, adding that the lack of response wasn’t limited to his own district. “I’m seeing reports from all over the city about the slow response to today’s slush storm.”
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis pointed fingers at Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“The city’s response today was an utter failure,” she said in a statement. “It is clear our mayor and his commissioners were not prepared for today’s snowfall. Although there are only a few inches that accumulated, motorists and commuters were left desperate to find a safe route home with most, after multiple hours, still navigating snow-filled streets. There were clearly not enough salt spreaders or plows, leaving roads slippery and causing numerous accidents. Additionally, there should have been traffic agents placed at the busiest intersections to prevent gridlock.”
Malliotakis also placed blame on the MTA.
“Traffic and the rush hour commute are already a nightmare in New York City, so it should have come as no surprise that inclement weather would exacerbate the problem,” she said, stressing that the agency was wildly unprepared for the gridlock. “When this is over, the city must conduct a review and develop a better contingency plan because what happened today is simply unacceptable and it is only the second week in November.”
One local resident tweeted Thursday evening that it took her son five and a half hours to get home to Bay Ridge via the S93 bus from the College of Staten Island.
Others recounted excruciating waits for Manhattan express buses back to the borough. The R train, however, one local tweeted, was “surprisingly, not awful.”
The city’s response to the wicked weather, however delayed, spanned into Friday. After-school programs were cancelled in the morning, as well as field trips using yellow school buses and all PSAL games.
Due to high winds, the New York City Parks Department even urged New Yorkers to avoid city parks Friday.
By the end of the day Thursday, Brooklyn had seen as much as five inches of snow, much of it washed away by rain by Friday morning.