The record snowfall this year means city streets are taking a beating, as gaping potholes are frustrating drivers and wearing down cars, but Mayor Bill de Blasio says his administration is on the case, filling more potholes than ever before. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
If you are driving through the city this winter, potholes are unavoidable, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that the city is filling a record number of them, and he is picking up a shovel to help with the work himself. He seems to enjoy the task.
"It's a beautiful day. It's nice to be outdoors. It's nice to see something that's really working," de Blasio said.
So far this year, the new administration has filled more than 113,000 potholes. This time last year, the Bloomberg administration had filled about 50,000 potholes, and the year before, 42,000.
"We're filling them as they come in, and they're coming in fast, much faster than they did last winter, which was much milder," said city Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
The mayor said that the city is starting weekly pothole blitzes to fill more holes than usual, and it has plans to resurface 1,000 miles of roadway by the summer as a preventative measure.
Trottenberg said that right now, it takes less than two days from the time the city receives a complaint about a pothole to the time that it is filled.
"I will admit that the complaints are coming in very fast, and the terrific crew you see here, we are going to do everything we can to keep the response time as fast as we can," she said.
The mayor said that the Department of Transportation is getting an extra $7.3 million to pay for road repairs.
As for other budget matters, the mayor was asked about City Comptroller Scott Stringer's argument that it is critical the mayor negotiate new contracts with the city's municipal labor unions by the end of June.
"I've never said we could guarantee a timeline. That would not be the truth," de Blasio said. "Our goal is to get them done to the maximum extent possible in 2014.
After the news conference, CBS 2 News caught the mayor's vehicle speeding and blowing through stop signs. It was behavior clearly at odds with the mayor's promise earlier this week to crack down on reckless drivers. Talking his way out of that mess may make filling potholes look easy.