Brooklyn community board suffers from budget request bupkis • Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn community board suffers from budget request bupkis

Community Board 18 is having a tough time with the city’s fuzzy math.

Every year when they put together their annual budget request and ask to have a street redone, they’re told that it’s part of the city’s 10-year plan.

What the board and the city disagree on is how long 10 years really is.

“It’s never 10 years, it’s 10 to 15 years and even 20 years and still nothing gets done,” Community Board 18 District Manager bemoaned last week as the board finished what they saw as another apparent exercise in futility — voting in their budget requests for fiscal year 2011.

Board members said that many of the 39 capital budget requests they put in have been submitted and re-submitted for years.

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) usually sends back the request with a canned response: “This project is included in the 10-year plan.”

This year however, the city got tired of the 10-year plan response and devised a new answer, claiming that some requests, like the reconstruction of Preston Court is “included within in an agency lump sum for the out years.”

The out years?

“I guess that means an infinite amount of time,” Turano surmised, adding that many of the capital budget requests have been on the books for upwards of 20 years. “It’s ludicrous. When did the 10-year plan start? You should call it a 20- or 30-year plan. It’s not funny, but it’s laughable.”

While the city pushes off the requests they “pick streets to dig up based on what’s written on a chalkboard in the sky,” Turano said.

Calls to the DOT for a response were not returned by press time.

This years capital budget priority requests include the reconstruction of Strickland Avenue from National Drive to Mill Avenue in Mill Island, which would include raised traffic islands, catch basins and sanitary sewers, the reconstruction of the Fraser Grid Streets that have suffered “serious buckling and flooding” over the years, the reconstruction of East 108th Street in Canarsie and the reconstruction of the Georgetowne street grid.

The board also asked for the installation of “pedestrian safety fences” on the south side of Avenue U adjacent to the Kings Plaza shopping center to “improve pedestrian and vehicular safety at Kings Plaza adjacent to the MTA bus turnaround,” bringing in additional street lighting to Flatlands Avenue, Rockaway Parkway and Avenue N shopping corridors and the construction of an elevated overpass at Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U in light of all the new traffic expected to come to the area with the opening of a new Lowe’s Home Improvement store.

The city asked the community board to “forward exact locations for investigation” for additional street lights.

Instead of pushing off the fences to a nebulous ten year plan, the DOT reviewed and flat out denied the request for safety fences near Kings Plaza.

In regards to the elevated overpass, “no study is recommended or planned at this time,” DOT officials told the board.

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