Queens’ highways, streets in bad shape: Study

By Philip Newman

Some of New York City’s worst-maintained infrastructure is in Queens, including highways, bridges, water quality standards and public housing, according to a report by an urban think tank and planning agency.

The report by the Center for an Urban Future said Queens is home to five of the nine worst-maintained highways in New York City. It said 9 percent of the borough’s bridges were structurally deficient and the public housing is in the worst physical condition of those in any other borough.

Nine highways across the city had an inferior rating in 2012 and five of them are in Queens, including the Jackie Robinson Parkway, the Shorefront Parkway, the Cross Bay Parkway, Queens Boulevard and the Hempstead Turnpike.

The report said highway conditions in Queens have deteriorated in recent years. In 2012, 52 percent of Queens highways were rated fair or poor, up from 38 percent in 2008.

Other problems listed by the report:

• A total of 29.7 percent of streets in Queens were in fair or poor condition. This is worse than Brooklyn, where 27.2 percent of streets were in fair or poor condition, but better than Manhattan (42.7 percent), Staten Island (40.1 percent) and the Bronx (34 percent).

• New York City Housing Authority developments in Queens have the most deteriorated building facades and roofs, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspections. The average building exterior or “envelope” in Queens scored 69 compared to 78 in Staten Island and Brooklyn, 79 in Manhattan and 81 in the Bronx.

• Two NYCHA developments with the greatest facade capital needs are in Queens: Pomonok has $124.4 million in capital needs and Ravenswood has $108.5 million in capital needs. Overall, four NYCHA complexes in Queens are among the 11 NYCHA developments that need more than $70 million in facade repairs through 2016. The other two are Queensbridge South and North.

The report said many of the oldest waste water treatment plants are in eastern Queens, including Jamaica (built in 1943) and Bowery Bay near Flushing (built in 1939).

Only 17 percent of repair funds for Queens schools has been pledged in the four-year Capital Commitment Plan, the lowest of any borough.

Queens also has the most sewage outflows into New York Harbor with 21 compared to Bronx (17), Manhattan (15), Brooklyn (16) and Staten Island (2).

Neither Alley Creek nor Flushing Bay complies with the water quality mandated by the federal Clean Water Act.

Finally, 67,000 Queens residents have no access to broadband service.

Looking at New York City in general, more than 1,000 miles of water mains are more than 100 years old, resulting in frequent breaks. There were 403 water main breaks last year. Gas mains are 56 years old on average.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.