By Bill Parry
A city councilman believes the city’s war on potholes can be waged more efficiently.
Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to make pothole repairs a priority and city crews mobilized, filling more than 100,000 of them through February, nearly 30,000 in Queens alone, but Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) believes it is not enough.
On Friday, the first-year councilman from Astoria urged his colleagues at the Council to approve his recently introduced bill, Int. 53, which requires that potholes are filled within five days or less.
“Department of Transportation data shows that we have been able to fill potholes effectively despite the harsh winter,” he said. “Int. 53 would codify good practice and set our expectations high for years to come.”
Constantinides’ legislation was introduced shortly after the mayor and the city DOT unveiled their plan for pothole blitzes, targeted repaving, road-surface material enhancements and even better routing and tracking operations.
“I was heartened to hear the mayor’s plan and it leaves me hopeful that our government is going to do its best for its people,” he said. “I want to make sure to put the sentiment behind the mayor’s plan into law.”
Constantinides was joined at his news conference by state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), who said, “Potholes aren’t just a nuisance, they can cause thousands of dollars of damage that New Yorkers just can’t afford on a regular basis. Councilman Constantinides’ bill would make city government more responsive to the needs of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike, and I offer my full support for this plan to make our streets safer.”
Safer and smoother streets are good for business, according to Kevin Foley, president of the Steinway Business Improvement District.
“Fellow business owners have told me how important it is to them that our roads are maintained well,” Foley said. “When our streets are clear and pothole-free, they are more welcoming to visitors and customers. This will help bring much-needed economic growth. The bill will help both residents of the city and visitors who drive through and patronize our businesses.”
Potholes represent a safety issue as well, state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) said.
“It is important that public safety hazards like potholes are addressed in a timely manner to ensure that New Yorkers do not suffer injury or property damage when going about their daily lives,” she said.
Constantinides also announced a pedestrian safety town hall meeting will be held March 19 at the Bohemian Hall, at 29-19 24th Ave., in Astoria between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718.260.4538.