By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The sorry shape of local streets is driving Bay Ridge residents crazy! Elected officials and candidates for public office have been busy dealing with transportation experts at the city and state levels, trying to get them to repair pothole littered streets so that local motorists can enjoy smoother rides in their cars.
Residents who live on 92nd Street between Ridge Boulevard and Third Avenue have had it particularly hard, according to Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), who said the block still hasn’t fully recovered from a 70-foot sinkhole that formed a year ago. The sinkhole was located on 92nd Street near Third Avenue.
Not only did it take several months to repair the sinkhole and the sewer line break that caused it, residents were left with a street that had numerous potholes after the work was finally completed, Gentile said.
But now, after nearly a year of non-stop construction and heavy machinery tearing up their street, residents got some good news on June 11. Gentile said that he and Councilman Domenic Recchia, Jr. (D-Coney Island-Gravesend), chairman of the Finance Committee, successfully brokered a deal with the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to resurface all of 92nd Street from Shore Road up to Fourth Avenue. The area to be resurfaced includes the block located on 92nd Street between Ridge Boulevard and Third Avenue.
“The residents and business owners on this block have been incredibly patient through the entire process,” Gentile said. “As far as quality of life for these residents, this is comparable to a mini-Second Avenue Subway project. These hard-working taxpayers deserve to have their street refurbished entirely after what they’ve had to deal with for the past year” he said.
“Bay Ridge is finally getting the treatment it deserves,” Recchia said. “After months of hardship, I’m pleased to announce that this resurfacing will leave the area better off than it was before this sinkhole emerged allowing residents to regain normalcy in their neighborhood,” he said.
Another spot that has become the bane of existence of Bay Ridge drivers is the 81st Street overpass above the Gowanus Expressway on Seventh Avenue, where a construction project appears to have been abandoned, residents said. The surface of the street has been removed, leaving a rough-edged roadway that makes for a bumpy ride for motorists. Construction cones are strewn about, but residents said it doesn’t appear as if any work is actually being done there.
John Quaglione, the Republican candidate running against Gentile for the council seat in the election this November, said he was contacted by a local resident, Wayne T. Mignosi, via Facebook, who requested his help.
“The 81st overpass is a vital roadway connecting Bay Ridge to neighboring areas such as Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst. But as of a month ago they stripped down the roadway, leaving nothing but big lifts in the ground causing you to have to drive at about five miles per hour,” Mignosi said in a statement released by Quaglione’s council campaign.
“There is no work going on half the time and it is unfair to all the communities involved,” Mignosi stated.
Quaglione said he sent a letter to New York State Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald requesting a status update on the highway overpass project. The Gowanus Expressway is an inter-state highway.
“This past weekend, I received complaints from local residents of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights who use this overpass as a connection to travel to work, school, local stores, medical appointments and more. The residents I spoke with are frustrated that this project appears to be more or less at a standstill, and roadway conditions are terrible,” Quaglione wrote.
Quaglione said he visited the site on June 9 and noticed that the overpass has been milled. But residents have reported seeing infrequent work on this project for about a month, he said.
“While I am sure there is a plan by the State Department of Transportation to complete this work, the neighborhood is unsure of the status of this project and would like an update. Additionally, due to the high volume of traffic this roadway sees each and every day, I am requesting that this project be a priority for completion as soon as possible,” Quaglione wrote.