A beat-up stretch of New Utrecht Avenue will be fully rehabilitated by the city, thanks to a push from a local council member to fully fund the $24 million job.
According to local Council Member Justin Brannan, residents have been raising complaints for the state of part of the roadway from 65th to 77th streets for some time. The pavement was cracked and dotted with potholes, the paint on the crosswalks and in the road lines was fading, and traversing the street had become uncomfortable and unsafe.
Brannan took their concerns to the city’s Department of Transportation, urging them fix the area the “right way” instead of the temporary patch jobs that were being done before.
“A street in Manhattan in this state of repair just wouldn’t happen. They wouldn’t allow it. So I said, ‘Why is the city allowing this to happen on New Utrecht Avenue?'” Brannan told Brooklyn Paper. “This areas just been untouched, you’ve got the elevated train there. It just needs a lot of work so I’m happy that they’re finally paying attention to it.”
According to Vin Barone, spokesperson with DOT, the department determined the street could not be fixed with milling and paving alone, thus a more extensive capital redesign was needed. Their proposed plan of action will cost approximately $24 million.
“DOT is in the early stages of designing a capital project proposal for this stretch of New Utrecht to bring a full suite of safety upgrades and fully repair the roadbed itself,” Barone said. “We will be exploring the use of treatments that are proven to improve safety and calm traffic, like concrete curb extensions and pedestrian islands; raised crosswalks; and new crosswalks and traffic signals. We thank representatives from community for supporting this work, including Brannan.”
They also found the state of the streets to be dangerous for all travelers whether they were driving, biking or walking. Since the area intersects the street grid diagonally, it creates irregular intersections sometimes blocked by the D train support columns. According to Crashmapper, New Utrecht Avenue between from 65th to 77th streets has seen 69 crash incidents in the last five years, with 80 injuries total.
In a separate project, DOT is also proposing upgrades and repairs on New Utrecht Avenue between between 54th and 55th streets and 60th and 61st streets, hoping to improve pedestrian safety and hard-to-navigate intersections.
“I don’t think we pay enough attention to our aging infrastructure, it’s not the sexiest thing to fix pipes under the streets or fix a broken road but I think we need to pay attention to it,” Brannan said. “This is the type of thing that people walk to work or their riding their bike or driving their car and it looks like hell. They pay a lot of taxes and they feel that it shouldn’t look this way and they’re not wrong.”
While the initial start year for construction was set for 2026, Brannan and his office are pushing to get construction started sooner.
“It’s ready to go, all that’s left to do is the work,” he said. “Now that we got the money, it’s just a matter of making sure the plans are finished and then just starting.”