Park Slope sidewalk repairs progress following contractor’s seedy corruption scheme

The city will examine and reconstruct hundreds of street corners around the city to make them more easily accessible for stroller-pushers and people with disabilities.
Department of Transportation

The city is making headway on a long-delayed project to repair hundreds of sidewalk ramps throughout Park Slope — after finally replacing its dirty contractor.

Original plans for the city’s $12.6 million infrastructure repair project called for 962 curb cuts to be refit and ready to go this September, but the project suffered a yearlong delay after executives with the city’s original contractor were indicted in a quid-pro-quo corruption scheme in April, 2018, according to a spokesman for the Department of Design and Construction.

“It set us back by approximately a year,” said Ian Michaels. “As a result, we’re not close to being done with the project yet.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance claimed the higher ups at Haider Engineering P.C. colluded to bribe a mid-tier bureaucrat at the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, who passed along confidential documents, schedules for upcoming contracts, and internal cost estimates for city projects to the construction outfit.

In exchange, Haider execs awarded their mole with dinners at classy restaurants, stays in high-end hotels, and tickets to Broadway plays, in addition to handing out some $7.5 million in subcontracts to companies affiliated with the civil servant.

The indictment forced the city to cut Haider Engineering loose, and then put their contract out to bid for the second time as part of a roughly yearlong procurement process.

Michaels claimed that the city’s new contractor, PCI Industries Corp, will hustle to complete as much of the project as possible before the end of the year, while noting that each corner, which features two ramps each, will take approximately three days to complete.

As much as the new ramps will benefit the neighborhood’s notoriously stroller-heavy sidewalk traffic, the Park Slope repair work is part of a citywide project resulting from a 2017 lawsuit and subsequent court-ordered study, which revealed that 80 percent of New York City sidewalk ramps fail to meet federal disabilities standards.

As such, the completed curb cuts will feature smooth paving and shallow inclines, in addition to tactile markers for the blind, Michaels said.

The CEO of Haider Engineer, Syed Haider, plead guilty to corrupting the government in the fourth degree in Manhattan Supreme Court on March 26.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.

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