By Joe Anuta
A haphazard paving job by the city will make Broadway-Flushing look more like Venice, according to homeowners concerned about flooded streets.
Residents were joined by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) last week to draw attention to the manner in which the city Department of Transportation repaved 32nd Avenue between 146th and 148th streets.
“This resurfacing has put the entire neighborhood at risk of flooding and needs to immediately be torn up and redone,” said Avella, who sent a letter to the DOT asking the agency to redo it.
About two weeks ago, a contractor hired by the DOT tore up the existing street in preparation to repave it with fresh asphalt.
The contractor only milled the road down 1 inch, according to Avella, but piled on 3 to 4 inches of asphalt. The road is even with the curb and in some cases even higher.
Now when it rains and the water hits the asphalt, instead of being herded down the street by the curbs to a drain, it just flows to the yards and driveways of homeowners like Paul Graziano, a Flushing community activist.
“We are in a bad situation,” Graziano said after a rainstorm had already left stagnant pools of water along the street. “The water isn’t being fed to the catch basins because the street is above the curb. It just floods into the sidewalk.”
The water also flows down into residents’ driveways and could flood their basements.
The DOT did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
But this is not the first time street repavings have left the neighborhood in a soggy state.
About 15 years ago, the same problem happened on a smaller scale, according to Graziano.
And even though the pavement did not rise above the curbs when it was repaved then, flooding still occurred, which is why the neighborhood is even more worried this time around.
Avella said that a policy that rewards contractors who finish the job early might have played a part in rushing the work.
But one aspect of city maintenance that has not been rushed is curb replacement, which Avella said should be done to protect neighborhoods in Queens and elsewhere from flooding.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing this in many other neighborhoods in this city as the cycle for repairing curbs has fallen way behind the cycle for street repaving,” he said.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.