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Councilmen push ‘pottery barn’ doctrine - Pols back new measure to compel contractors to repair damaged streetscape

The Brooklyn Paper
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New York City Council Members James S. Oddo and Simcha Felder called on the New York City Department of Transporta-tion (DOT) to issue a new rule requiring those who make cuts into public streets, as part of the construction of one, two, or three family dwellings, to restore the pavement back to its original condition from curb to curb.

The Council Members introduced legislation in the City Council that would accomplish this goal (Intro. 680) but it is a change that DOT can make more quickly through internal rulemaking.

The Council Members urged DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan to make this rule change a priority, though they vowed to pursue passage of the legislation if DOT fails to act.

“Despite promises that changes would come, we still see streets dug up and incorrectly or incompletely repaired by contractors. This is unacceptable and it is a quality-of-life issue for all New Yorkers,” said Oddo.

“It’s a fundamental and common sense notion that, should you break something, you should be required to fix it. Our legislation would require just that. We urge DOT to support this idea and immediately act to use their rulemaking authority to pass such a requirement. If DOT fails to act we will continue to pursue our legislative authority to mandate it. The streets of New York might not be paved with gold, but they are paved with taxpayer dollars. This requirement would ensure that taxpayer dollars do not go to waste when contractors incompletely fix what they have dug up.”

Oddo and Felder took a tour of two sites to demonstrate an example of an incorrectly repaired street on Rockland Avenue and a correctly repaired street on North Railroad Avenue in New Dorp, Staten Island.

The difference is striking. The incorrectly repaired street looks like a patchwork job that provides a bumpy and bone-jarring ride for motorists who drive over it while the correctly repaired street provides a smooth surface.

If Oddo and Felder’s proposal were enacted, it would no longer be permissible to do a poor job like the one done on Rockland Avenue.

Felder said, “Cutting up city streets may be a necessary inconvenience, but the potholes and sink-ins that result from careless re-pavings should not be. The city needs to hold people responsible for sloppy work.”

Oddo sent a letter to Sadik-Khan urging her to adopt this policy. He has not received a response to this request.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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