By Charlie Finnerty | [email protected]
A $101 million Department of Design and Construction (DDC) project to overhaul Maspeth’s sewer and water infrastructure along 70th Street and prevent flooding is in its tenth year. As the DDC continues to renew the area’s sewers, some residents have raised concerns about water pooling during rainstorms after the construction in their area replaced sections of sidewalk.
Maspeth resident Ann McGee said her biggest worry is the risk of residents falling when the pools freeze over in the winter.
“It’s the whole side of my block, every house is puddling,“ McGee said. “It’s so bad.”
McGee, who lives on 70th street between 52nd Drive and 53rd Avenue said she has been contacting various city offices for almost two years trying to get the DDC to repave the sidewalks on her street.
Ben Geremia, a constituent services officer for District 30 Councilmember Bob Holden said that when DDC construction impacts existing sidewalks, as much of the original pavement is kept intact to conserve concrete. This often results in uneven surfaces where old existing walkways meet the newly patched sections, creating water pools and tripping hazards.
“In every case where there is a problem — if not all of them, then 95% of them — occur where they left old sidewalk and poured new sidewalk next to it,” Geremia said. “That is where the puddles occur and these puddles are large. I know they’re all concerned now because winter is coming and they’re worried about having an ice rink in front of their house.”
According to Geremia, certain pools on McGee’s street can be up to eight feet long. The risks of these iced over water pools are not just dangerous for residents themselves, but could also potentially make homeowners liable for lawsuits if pedestrians fall and hurt themselves in front of their house, according to both McGee and Geremia.
This week, McGee and her neighbors were able to secure a victory with the DDC. DDC Executive Director of Public Information Ian Michaels said project engineers agreed that sections of sidewalk on McGee’s block were incorrectly installed and will redo the sidewalks before winter.