Like most of Queens, the residents of Woodhaven were strongly disappointed by the city's response to the snowstorm that struck just after Christmas. Many of our streets went unplowed three or four days after the snow stopped falling, and a few streets never saw a plow at all.
Luckily, the weather warmed up a bit and by the end of the week, temperatures that were near 50 degrees were doing for us what the city failed to do- getting rid of the snow. Over the next few weeks, we trust that our elected officials will attend hearings and uncover just what caused this situation to spiral out of control and what can be done to prevent this from ever happening again.
During this past storm, when our elected officials asked the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association which streets had yet to be plowed, we took to Facebook and e-mail to poll our residents. Although we heard back from many residents, this was a haphazard and spotty way of determining just how bad the situation was in our community.
In years past, each block in Woodhaven had a "Block Captain," and it was part of a system that worked very well. During the snowfall, a network of Block Captains would have provided the Block Association with contacts in each section of the community who could report in and tell us exactly what was going on.
Besides last week's blizzard, there were at least two other storms in 2010 where a communications network in Woodhaven, via Block Captains, would have proven useful: (1) In March, there was a spectacular storm that uprooted trees and destroyed vehicles, causing power lines to burst into flames and leaving many homes without power for days. (2) In September, we were slammed by a "microburst" that violently tore down trees and power lines.
An orderly, grassroots gathering of information will greatly assist our community when dealing with the next storm, whether it be a blizzard, a tornado, or a blackout. There are any number of instances where this would be extremely useful. We are urging our fellow residents of Woodhaven to sign up to be Block Captains. Please send an e-mail indicating your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 718-296-3735.
Edward K. Wendell
President Woodhaven Residents' Block Association