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Street repairs helped to save lives

As freezing weather tears up the streets, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) will be repaving its 5,000th lane-mile of road since 2002 before year’s end. Over 1,400 of these lane miles have been on Queens roads.
“The change in weather we’ve seen over the past few weeks brings about a change in road conditions with freezing and thawing often resulting in potholes,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Keeping our streets in good condition is an important priority for our administration. Today we are marking a significant milestone for what really is a basic quality of life issue - good, safe streets.”
A study conducted by the DOT showed that keeping up with street repairs has contributed to a 20 percent decline in traffic fatalities over the past five years. The benefits of repaired streets are not limited to drivers; they help the movement of bikers, walkers and users of public transportation as well. Noah Budnick, Projects Director of Transportation Alternatives, a non-profit dedicated to promoting biking, walking and safe and livable streets, said that this initiative fits in with PlaNYC, Bloomberg’s long term sustainability plan for New York City.
“We are concerned with the efficient use of streets,” said Budnick. “Smooth streets became important this summer when the DOT put street inspectors on bicycles. By example they not only showed the importance of reducing their own driving, but in a car you miss a lot of things going on in the streets.”
Although these bike inspectors do not frequent the streets during the colder months, they symbolize a shift away from a once car-centric DOT.
This year, the Bloomberg administration increased paving funding by $11 million, from $97 million to $108 million, allowing for additional paving crews in the spring when paving resumes.
“If we increase the amount of lane miles paved in good condition, this helps support more sustainable transportation,” said a spokesperson from the DOT.
“DOT pothole repair crews are already out in the streets citywide, filling the potholes that were created by these latest freeze/thaw cycles - more than 70,000 in the past five months,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Throughout the winter, there will be as many as 40 pothole crews available daily for road repair. Our crews fill the equivalent of 22 potholes every hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In spring, when paving resumes, we will increase the number of paving crews by 20 percent, from 10 to 12 citywide.”
New Yorkers can expedite repairs needed on their streets by calling 3-1-1 to report the location of potholes to the DOT.

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