U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills) has called on city officials to inspect the safety of elevators at Pomonok Housing in Flushing, the third largest of the 2,636 developments run by the city Housing Authority.
The recent release of a city Department of Buildings study that found poor maintenance and technical problems led to the death of a 5−year−old Williamsburg, Brooklyn boy in August prompted Weiner to demand last week that authority officials conduct “more vigorous, routine inspections” of Pomonok’s elevators.
“We cannot wait for another tragedy to strike before we insure the safety of New Yorkers,” Weiner wrote in a letter to Douglas Apple, general manager of the Housing Authority.
The boy, Jacob Neuman, was trying to escape from a stuck elevator in his Brooklyn housing complex when he fell 10 floors to his death.
Pomonok Housing is home to more than 4,300 New Yorkers, including many senior citizens. The development has 35 buildings and 54 residential elevators.
Weiner said the elevators broke down approximately 263 times last year, and residents had to wait an average of 10 hours before the elevators were fixed — the longest wait time out of all Queens Housing Authority developments.
Housing Authority spokesman Howard Marder said the city spent nearly $6 million in 2001 to modernize the elevators, which included the installation of a “remote elevator monitoring system.”
“There’s a full−time maintenance crew at Pomonok, unlike many other developments in the city,” Marder said. “The total number of elevator outages at Pomonok has been reduced 18.6 percent just from last year to this year.”
“As far as I’m aware, there’s no problems” with the development’s elevators, Marder added.
Weiner disagreed and said he is working to help the residents, who have complained to him about faulty elevators at Pomonok. He has secured $1 billion to help assist with elevator repairs in the federal stimulus package.
Should the stimulus package pass the Senate, the federal government will funnel about $130 million to the city Housing Authority. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 264−158.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson
©2008 Community News Group
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