Avella stands with Bayside residents to call for resolution to longstanding flooding

This Bayside home has been the site of “ponding” during heavy rains ever since DOT repaved roads several years ago.
Courtesy of Avella’s office
By Mark Hallum

Bayside residents are calling for city agencies to address a longstanding issue of flooding on their street, claiming the water consistently turns their yards and basements into large puddles.

James Bitetto, who lives on 211th Street between 34th and 35th avenues, said flooding has occurred in his backyard since the DOT repaved the road in 2012 and resolution of the issue seems just out of reach.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) led an April 19 news conference calling on the city DOT and DEP to address the issue, which affects neighboring homes as well.

“The way this mayoral administration has treated homeowners and communities in this city is nothing short of disgraceful. They have money to spend on a billion-dollar trolley but can’t seem to find funds to provide basic city services or pave a street properly. The fact that no one from DOT has responded to my letters about this situation shows that doing right by the community is not a priority of theirs. Shame on this administration for allowing the quality of life of all of these homeowners to deteriorate before our very eyes,” Avella said.

Avella said many residents have paid out-of-pocket for flood mitigation of their homes since the repaving took place, slanting the street away from the only catch basin on the street.

“Four years ago, 11 Bayside residents signed a petition requesting that Queens DEP and DOT take action to eliminate the street flooding, which has caused flooding in our basements as well. I have contacted a number of Queens agencies, including DOT and DEP, and attended Mayor de Blasio’s Queens Town Hall,” Bitteo said this week. “Our request is simple: You had the funds to create this problem, now find the funds to correct this problem.”

Bitetto told the senator the issue would be resolved in 2017, but almost a year later, residents are still waiting.

“DOT repaved this location in May of 2012,” DOT responded in an email Monday. “The initial complaint regarding ponding at this location was forwarded to DOT in the spring of 2013. In 2013, DOT determined the repaving did not impact the contours of 211th Street at the rear of the constituent’s property where they claim ponding is occurring. In an effort to remedy the ponding conditions here, DOT worked with the property owner to install an asphalt berm across the end of 211th Street to deflect water from the property in November of 2013. Last fall, DOT conducted a follow-up survey/investigation of this location and recently informed Mr. Bitteo DOT now aims to increase the height of the berm to address the flooding condition.”

Bitetto said the flooding attracts mosquitoes and has caused damage to his garage.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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