DOT irks Briarwood by repaving street lines

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When the city Department of Transportation began resurfacing some Briarwood streets just after the agency repainted crosswalk lines, area residents were surprised — but said they should have expected it.

“This isn’t the only example of city agencies falling all over themselves,” said Briarwood Civic Association President Seymour Schwartz.

While residents said a lack of communication between city agencies is common, they were still dismayed to see the tax dollars that went into painting the lines disappear just weeks later when the city DOT began a repaving project scheduled to end around August.

According to residents, the city at the end of June repainted bike route, crosswalk and stop sign lines at the intersection of Coolidge Avenue and 138th Street as well as several other blocks in the area. The city DOT, however, said they did not paint a bike lane but made about a dozen arrow markings and stencils of a bicyclist. The markings will be replaced after the resurfacing project is complete, according to the city agency.

“We were happy when the painting was being done because the lines were getting really faint,” said Jimmy Tripathi, who lives on Coolidge Avenue near the intersection. “We complained a lot because we thought somebody was going to get seriously hurt because they wouldn’t see the line and wouldn’t stop. Then all the lines were repainted, but for no time at all. It doesn’t make much sense.”

Schwartz said many residents have been upset over the city DOT’s recent transgressions near the Coolidge Avenue and 138th Street intersection at Main and Manton streets. Along Main Street, Schwartz said there is a retaining wall that had long been neglected by the city and the Briarwood Civic Association had paid thousands of dollars to fix up a portion of it.

“We paved a strip 2 feet wide, and then the city came along and felt some responsibility and put in a new section of sidewalk about 4 feet wide,” Schwartz said. “Next to the curb there was a 2-foot strip of wild grass and weeds and when they did the brand-new sidewalk they cleared the 2-foot strip and put down some nice topsoil and smoothed out that area so for the first time in many years it looked great.”

Like the repainting, however, the pleasure residents could take in the improvements was short-lived and National Grid ripped up the work that had been done to work on the pipes. While National Grid is not a city agency, residents said they would like to believe there could be some kind of communication so tax dollars would not go to waste.

“It increases skepticism with regard to city administra­tion,” Schwartz said.

The city DOT said they meet regularly with other agencies and utilities to coordinate on projects going on in the same area, and officials said several months after they repaved Main Street National Grid notified them of their project.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 6:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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