By Howard Koplowitz
“I'm just going to have one major expansive blacktop,” said Angela Auguliaro, president of the civic and a member of the Joint Bellerose Business District – another group that wants to beautify the triangle.But DOT spokesman Craig Chin said asphalt was never poured onto the island. He said the asphalt was underneath the concrete that has worn away and the agency “has plans to extend the sidewalk around the triangle” but did not know the specific date.Chin later backtracked, saying “I don't know what was there, but our intention (is) to fix it.”Before it made the claim that asphalt was poured, the civic and business group complained that the triangle's curbing was in a state of disrepair after cars continually ran over the island near Jericho Turnpike and Braddock Avenue, which serves as a road divider. Augugliaro said the civic and business group used to plant flowers on the triangle, which she claimed had a dirt surface. She said the triangle was known in the neighborhood as “the mud puddle.”She said the DOT is “just trying to cover their butts for doing something stupid” when told Chin said asphalt was underneath concrete.They even offered to fix the triangle with grant money but never received a response from the DOT, Augugliaro said. She noticed the asphalt-covered island earlier this month.She said other areas of eastern Queens, such as Springfield Gardens and Cambria Heights, have spruced up islands with flowers, but not Bellerose.”Up here nobody seems to care,” she said. “I really would like to see that triangle beautified. We gave the DOT several options, but they are just not listening.”Augugliaro called the asphalt “the easier way out.”We want more green,” she said. “We want a more natural look.”The complaints about the triangle have gone on for about eight to 10 years, Augugliaro said, noting that the gripes were heard by three DOT commissioners without a response.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.