East Flatbush residents have hit a major bump in the road when it comes to getting the neighborhood’s streets made smooth — the city appears to be willing to let roadways big and small across the community go to rack and ruin, even as they rush to add bike lanes that residents haven’t asked for.
A whopping 11 different strips are in such bad shape that they made it onto Community Board 17’s list of capital budget priorities for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011. This list is meant to include the panel’s most important projects from all city agencies, but members’ focus on the community’s thoroughfares tell a sad story: repairs are requested from the city’s Department of Transportation, but don’t seem to happen.
Meanwhile, streets like Rockaway Parkway get glistening new bike lanes and neck downs that the community doesn’t even want, and that doesn’t sit well with residents.
“Whenever they want to make a change, it’s done as quickly as possible, but when the community says, ‘We want this done,’ they drag their feet about it,” said Terry Hinds, CB17’s chairman. “They think bike lanes are more important than filling potholes.”
Even paving the neighborhood’s bumpiest stretch — Church Avenue between Nostrand and Bedford avenues — has been on hold for years. It was scheduled for repaving several years ago when city officials began a “Congested Corridor” study of the strip, from McDonald Avenue to Utica Avenue, and put the sorely needed work on the back burner, leaving pedestrians and motorists to cope with huge potholes and bumpy roadways at their own peril.
“The need has been ongoing for eons,” Hinds said. “It’s back on the radar again, and we’re waiting with bated breath to see if it’s actually accomplished.”
Other streets also badly in need of rehabilitation include Linden Boulevard between Bedford Avenue and Kings Highway, Kings Highway between E. 98th Street and Glenwood Road, and Avenue A between Linden Boulevard and Ralph Avenue, according to the board. With Church Avenue, the strips made up CB17’s top four capital budget priorities.
Others on the list include East 91st Street between Ditmas Avenue and East New York Avenue, New York Avenue between Foster Avenue and Farragut Road, Glenwood Road between East 34th Street and Nostrand Avenue, additional portions of Church Avenue between Nostrand Avenue and Utica Avenue, East 31st Street between Flatbush Avenue and Glenwood Road, Newkirk Avenue between Bedford Avenue and Rogers Avenue, East 29 Street between Farragut Road and Newkirk Avenue and East 32nd Street between Farragut Road and Farragut Place.
There are other streets that haven’t even made it onto the list of capital priorities that are sorely in need of resurfacing, added Terrence LaPierre, the president of the Avenue D Merchants Association, and a CB17 officer. LaPierre said Utica Avenue, Flatbush Avenue and Nostrand Avenue — all major arteries in East Flatbush — are aching for some attention that they’re not getting. “The streets of East Flatbush are very much neglected,” LaPierre said.
But city officials said some of the streets were being looked at for repaving work, and portions of others had been done. Among those currently being surveyed are Kings Highway, Linden Boulevard, Avenue A, East 91st Street, Glenwood Road and Newkirk Avenue. Portions of East 29, East 31 and East 32 streets were paved in 2009, and portions of New York Avenue were paved in 2008, according to the agency.