Pipes can't take homeless shelter


To the editor:

(re: “Shelter reps are a no-show at CB8 land use meeting,” Nov. 4)

Nothing, not one thing, can be built on Broadway north of Mosholu Avenue until the sewer infrastructure on Broadway — from the Caryl Avenue city line with Yonkers, all the way down the hill to Mosholu — is brought into the 21st century.

I recently gave testimony to Community Board 8’s land use committee describing the explosive sewer overflow problems experienced by all the apartment buildings at the bottom of the Broadway hill, from West 260th Street south to Mosholu, whenever there is a torrential downpour.

Community liaison personnel from the offices of U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi were on that Zoom committee meeting, but remained silent, seemingly taking notes of community residents’ comments.

On Nov. 2, New York state voters passed an amendment to the state constitution that “would establish the right of each person to clean air and water, and a healthful environment. It would also allow New Yorkers to sue if their right to clean water, clean air or a healthful environment are being violated.”

On Nov. 3, U.S. Rep. Bowman and state Sen. Biaggi published an online Point of View in The Riverdale Press supporting the building of a five-story apartment building for 130 adults plus staff members at the top of the Broadway hill, just south of the Yonkers city line.

Such construction necessarily means more sinks, more showers, more bathtubs, more toilets all emptying into the already over-stressed, inadequate 100-year-old sewer main carrying that untreated wastewater down the hill. Under heavy rainfall, the excess wastewater pressure pops the manhole covers on Broadway, and becomes toilet and drain geysers into apartments, laundry rooms and garages of all buildings at the foot of that hill.

In broadcasting for all the community to read their approval of that proposed five-story construction, they are also broadcasting — for all the community to see — their ignorance of the topography and infrastructure of this little segment of their district. Their approval stems from idealism. What is needed is pragmatism to address an already unhealthy living environment.

Now with the passage of the environmental state constitutional amendment, lawsuits can be brought if the sewer system on Broadway violates the “healthful environment” clause.

On Nov. 5, Congressman Bowman announced he had voted against the congressional infrastructure bill. Fortunately, it passed. Can any of that money be used to address the inadequate, unhealthy sewer environment on north Broadway? Certainly that segment — in both Congressman Bowman’s and Sen. Biaggi’s districts — will most definitely become more unhealthy if even one more “thing” is built on Broadway north of Mosholu Avenue. Neither of them seems to understand that.

What’s worse, they do not seem to care about the families already living here.

Leslie Hogan

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Leslie Hogan,