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New York officials respond to criticism over snowstorm response

Posted at 10:26 AM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 22:18:19-05

NEW YORK — Commuters faced heavily congested, icy roadways and snarled public transit during Thursday's snowstorm, prompting New York officials to respond to the criticism.

New York City saw 1,915 collisions reported between noon and midnight, according to NYPD Chief Terence Monahan. That's a 162 percent increase in crashes when compared to the same time last year.

Port Authority was at a complete standstill during the evening rush hour because of the storm, and lines for city buses were extremely long.

“Overcrowding at the Port Authority Bus Terminal was caused by a lack of a supply of buses," a spokesperson for the Port Authority said. "Yesterday, during the 4 pm to 7 p.m. peak, only 232 buses arrived at the bus terminal compared to 1,429 that typically arrive during this same period on a normal weekday, a decline of approximately 84 percent.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the storm's unexpected strength caught everyone off guard.

"I just want to say to all New Yorkers... I know how frustrated people are," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Friday. "I'm frustrated too. I'm frustrated as a New Yorker who was stuck in traffic like so many other people were. I'm frustrated as mayor of the city that for so many reasons, people didn't get what they should have last night."

De Blasio said there will be a full audit review of city and state agencies, including Port Authority.

"We went into Wednesday night with estimates from the National Weather Service in the 1 to 2 inches of snow range... that's not a snowstorm that any of us would be afraid of," de Blasio said.

Central Park saw 6 inches, breaking previous records for the day and becoming the second-heaviest snowfall ever on record for November. Click here for snowfall totals around the tri-state area.

The MTA also released a statement to PIX 11: “Our buses were held hostage to massive gridlock citywide. Our bus operators and front-line employees fought through epic traffic and kept the subways moving - and we’re grateful for their dedication during a tremendously difficult commute.”