2005-04-07 / From The Mayor...

From The Mayor’s Desk ...Paving The Way For A Better New York

With winter finally melting away, another season—not yet spring, but pothole season—has arrived. And in response, crews from the City’s Department of Transportation are carrying out a pothole-filling blitz to improve driving conditions on streets and highways in all five boroughs. They’re building on a solid record of achievement. During the first three years of our Administration, we’ve filled more than 600,000 potholes; that’s roughly 40% more than were filled during the previous three years. And 85% of those filled potholes have been in the boroughs outside Manhattan.

Getting potholes filled is important—and it’s just as crucial to complete that work in a timely fashion. Our achievements in that regard are remarkable, too. Currently, 97% of all potholes are filled within 30 days of when we’re notified of them. That’s up from a 65% rate of 30-day completions five years ago—more proof that during our Administration, the Department of Transportation, like other City agencies, has learned to do more with less.

But filling potholes is, if you’ll excuse the expression, just a stop-gap solution to ensuring safe driving conditions for New Yorkers. That’s why our Administration also has stepped up the repaving of our streets. The City’s proposed budget for the 12-month period beginning July 1st would give us enough money to repave 900 lane-miles of streets in all five boroughs; that’s 20% more than we’re repaving now.

Getting around the city has to be easier for pedestrians too—and it will be, thanks to a new program we’re launching to help homeowners whose sidewalks have been raised or buckled by tree roots. People who live in neighborhoods with damaged sidewalks know just how big a problem this is. In fact, the City Parks and Recreation Department, which is responsible for taking care of the trees that line our streets, receives about 2,500 requests for sidewalk repairs each year. Up until now, homeowners have first had to schedule a Parks Department forestry crew to repair the root systems of the trees causing such problems, then bear the brunt of the remaining costs—which can reach as much as $1,000 per tree—by hiring private contractors to rebuild the sidewalks.

But under our new “Trees and Sidewalks Repair Program,” the City will be responsible for all repairs to the tree roots and the damaged sidewalks fronting one-, two-, and three-family residences. The borough presidents of Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island are contributing to this $3.4 million initiative, and thanks to funds that the mayor’s office is also putting into it, homeowners throughout the city will benefit. Altogether, we expect to repair as many as 2,000 damaged sidewalks during the program’s first year.

To get the ball rolling, qualifying homeowners just have to call 311 to lodge a work order. The Parks Department will inspect the site, and design and construct a solution. And if you see a pothole that needs filling, call 311 about that, too. It’s a great way that you can help keep New York streets and sidewalks safe for everyone.

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