The Off Broadway Homeowners Association and Flushing residents are urging the city Department of Transportation to fix a strip of Depot Road along the Long Island Rail Road which is filled with potholes and exposed cobblestones.
Complaints that the strip is a hazard and eyesore were first brought to DOT’s attention in 2009 by Community Board 7. At a news conference Tuesday, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said DOT replied to the community board, telling them that the stretch between 158th and 159th streets was beyond normal maintenance and work should be turned over to the capital management commission for a complete reconstruction of the road. But nothing happened.
Avella said the DOT reached out to him in July and he wrote back, but the response he received in August was the same that the community board had gotten back in 2009: The project would have to be submitted to the capital division.
“Well, that’s what they were supposed to have done seven years ago,” he said. “So here we are seven years later and nothing is done. If they would have initiated the capital project seven years ago, this would have been done already. The fact that the DOT wasted seven years without doing something is absolutely disgraceful.”
Avella said he will be writing to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to say: “Your agency, even though you weren’t the commissioner then, you guys wasted seven years and did nothing. Now I want to know based upon my request, what are you doing about reconstructing this street?”
“This community should not have to wait seven years from now to find out if they’re getting a project,” he said. “This is an active road, people use it for the local neighborhood. If you’re driving by, you might not even recognize it as a city road. You might think it’s private, because it’s so small, but there are many roads that run parallel to the LIRR which are city property and they have a responsibility to maintain it.”
Teddi Kavanaugh, the 92-year-old president of the OBHA, has been leading the charge to get the road reconstructed for years.
“Just get it done,” she said. “I feel they’re inefficient, they just don’t care. Really, we’re neglected because we’re near the LIRR and we’re not a main street and I think seven years is a long wait to get it done.”
Avella said even if DOT agrees to fix the road, there will still be a long wait for residents.
“From initial agreement to do a capital project to when the shovel goes in the ground is usually five years,” he said. “So we could have had this project done already if they just would have done what they told the community board in 2009 and here we are and now they’re telling me the same thing.”
In the meantime, Avella suggested strip paving and resurfacing the road while residents wait for total reconstruction.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” he said. “This community, just like any in the city of New York, pays some of the highest property taxes in the country. We’re entitled to some service. You can’t tell me you can’t just come out here and fix some of the potholes.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart
©2016 Community News Group
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