The now-notorious blizzard that virtually swallowed the city Christmas weekend of 2010 left many residents trapped for days inside, wondering when a snowplow might appear to clear their street.
A still-under-development website, announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will allow New Yorkers to see where that plow is, and to get more information on when it may arrive to set them free.
“The city Department of Sanitation is working to develop a plow tracking program that can be shared with the public,” said Vito Turso, a spokesman for the department, following up on Hizzoner’s comments about the snowplow tracking system.
Whether the site will be up-and-running in time for this season’s snow is not clear. And, as the mayor admitted, just publicizing the information about where the plows may be does not necessarily speed their progress.
—Staten Island Snow Plan 2012—
“I don’t know that it necessarily improves our ability to plow,” Bloomberg said Tuesday, during a conversation with reporters. “We have the routes and we’re going to do it, but it does let you see where plows went and when they went there and that sort of thing.”
All city plows are equipped with GPS devices that would allow information about their whereabouts to be uploaded to a computer practically immediately. Private snowplows will not be hooked into the system, but will be monitored by Sanitation supervisors, according to a spokesman for the department.
Chicago put in place a similar system this year, designed largely by volunteers and employees of that city’s sanitation department.
Meanwhile, private snow removal firms in New York City are already standing by, with contracts worth a total of $1.8 million, no matter how much snow falls this year.
The Sanitation Department also plans to hire temporary workers to help clear the snow, and is accepting registration of interested applicants between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. at local sanitation depots. The pay is $12 an hour, which can increase to at least $18 an hours once laborers log more than 40 hours.
To sign up, candidates must be older than 18, be eligible to work in the United States, and be able to manage heavy physical labor.
To register, bring two small photos, two pieces of identification and a Social Security card.