"After a year of calling 311 and complaining, we got so fed up that my mom and her boyfriend went to Home Depot and bought $4 worth of gravel cement and did it themselves," said Yvette Wolotowski, 30.That happens to be illegal, according to city regulations, and the handy tenants could face a fine. The gravel-based cement the residents used was not part of the Department of Transportation's recipe, and will have to be removed, a city DOT spokesman said.The residents say it would not have happened if the DOT had responded to fix the hole, noting the pothole, just two blocks from the BQE, had been made worse by the heavy traffic the road gets every day at rush hour."It was so noisy the whole house vibrated," said longtime resident Phyllis Redecha. "Even the cats were scared."The issue caught the eye of resident Dan Jacoby, who tracked down City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy (D-Brooklyn), the chief sponsor of legislation that would require the DOT to address potholes within three days of a complaint.Mealy and City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) showed up outside the apartment building to deplore the city's response time."We need to expect more from our city," Gioia said, who noted the city recently settled a $1 million suit from a motorist whose car was damaged by a pothole in Brooklyn.A DOT spokesman said the agency received its first complaint about the Woodside pothole last month. A DOT inspection crew examined it Jan. 11 and an appointment has been scheduled to fill it, the spokesman said.Mealy, whose district includes portions of the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville and Flatbush, said the industriousness of the Woodsiders inspired her."I should have done this a long time ago," she said.That legislation, introduced in August 2007, is awaiting a hearing in the Council's Transportation Committee.A DOT spokesman said the average time to repair a pothole is already less than three days from the time it was reported to 311. The spokesman touted the DOT's repair record, noting 42,941 potholes were fixed in the first four months of the 2008 fiscal year, a 6 percent increase from the same period of the previous year.The spokesman said 99 percent of potholes reported to 311 are now repaired within 30 days, up from 65 percent in 2002, when the city comptroller's office audited the program and found it lacking.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@tim
©2008 Community News Group
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