No more excuses on potholes


To the editor:

(re: “Potholes? ‘Not my job’ says agency after agency,” May 9)

I read with great interest Heather J. Smith’s reporting on the potholes throughout Riverdale. As described in the story, the city’s maintenance and service for our interior roads is an abomination.

The story explains there is a lack of clarity on responsibility by the city to maintain proper care of the street. There is reference to the “gray area” which was part of a “privately held subdivision … during the 19th and 20th century … never deeded to the city.”

Unfortunately, we live in this area in the 21st century, and I find this to be an absurd excuse.

I, too, have called 311 many times. Reached out to our local officials, including Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz. I walked the streets with Councilman Andrew Cohen and then-Sen. Jeffrey Klein. I have spoken to DOT, and the answers are similarly vague and non-committal. They punt the issue, ask for petitions and community board resolutions.

Really, the streets are horrendous. Every so often, DOT throws a pail full of asphalt into a pothole. It’s a Band-Aid on a wound that erodes by the next rainfall.

Who has these deeds that never got to the city, and how do we solve this mess?

One trope regarding the problem of deeding the city is that the city will require that the streets are widened. Also ridiculous — our street are historic and appropriate for the neighborhood. If this requires some exception, so be it. But don’t hide behind the fiction.

The fact that the city does not have deeds to these streets, should we make them completely private, close them only to local traffic charge tolls to any other traveler? How much should we charge the buses from Riverdale Country School and SAR to use our private streets? How about the Bronx bike tour? Not to mention essential services.

The city has turned their back on us. If the city does not have responsibility as a normal expectation, why are we, the local residents, not getting a credit on our taxes? The DOT is funded through our state and city income taxes, we should be entitled to rebate so that we can apply that to our private street maintenance.

We have consulted with lawyers and politicians. Some of the politicians have excused the abominable condition of the craters in the streets as a way of “slowing traffic.” C’mon! We are deteriorating the value of our beautiful and historic neighborhood. We are living with unsafe conditions.

And entropy breeds entropy, as these dilapidated streets demonstrate lack of care.

A couple of years ago, as neighbors — and in conjunction with Riverdale Country Day School — we privately funded a paving. There is no reason that the city and DOT could not develop a similar reasonable plan to resurface roads without extensive modifications to preserve the essence of the community.

The acceptance of the idea that there is “gray area” is crumbling the serenity of our neighborhood. We have to stop the nonsense and take care of our community. This should not be hard — or gray.

Steven Silverstein
Cathy Raduns