NYC councilman proposes 'pot hole summit'

April 6, 2010 4:24:35 PM PDT
Recent storms and the snowy winter have been murder for Tri-State area roads. Now, one councilman is proposing a new strategy.It looks like off-road driving on Travis Avenue on Staten Island. Drivers complain that Richmond Road looks like a war zone.

Theresa Pergola says that's where a pot hole got her good.

"All of a sudden I heard boom boom, and it cut the rim of my car," she said.

Rena Garafola says pot holes are costing her big time, since her insurance doesn't cover the damage.

"I have the suspension problem on (one) car," she said. "My nephew's car, as well. We just put two tires. So it's never ending."

"They're tired," Councilman James Oddo said. "They're fed up with it."

Oddo says he has a solution - a roads condition summit.

He wants to put city leaders, DOT workers and Staten Island residents together in one room to come up with a permanent solution to the problem.

"They feel like government keeps reaching into their pockets," Oddo said. "They feel like they're paying more on taxes, water rate hikes, and at the same time, they literally can't go to the store to pick up a loaf of bread with having their kidneys or their chasses rattled."

Oddo says he can't get through a day without talking about pot holes. When he's driving on the street, people pull him over to complain. And forget about when he sits in front of his computer.

"I want to know if the DOT has any plans to resurface Father Capodanno Boulevard, which has craters that could have been made by B-52 air strikes," he said, reading his E-mail.

Oddo says Staten Island has 2,400 lane miles, but that only 118 were resurfaced last year. He calls it a recipe for never having driveable streets.

"I'm afraid we're on this carousel," he said. "We patch pot holes. They don't last. Then next year, we're in a worse position."

So far this year, DOT workers filled 43,000 potholes on Staten Island, more than a third of them in just the last five weeks.

Agency officials say they are ready and willing to meet and talk things through.