Residents of Avenue Z in Sheepshead Bay have been complaining for a year about a dozen traffic barrels that have been cluttering their block since before Hurricane Sandy — and nobody seems to know who is responsible for the blaze-orange obstacles.
The barrels are not just an eyesore for locals living on Avenue Z between E. 28th and E. 29th streets, they look like they’ve been strategically placed to disrupt quality of life as much as possible.
Seven of the barrels sit in the middle of a bus stop, and worse, the remainder are crowded directly on top of a storm drain, and locals complain that as a result, their basements frequently flood during storms.
“When there was very heavy rain there was no place for the water to go into the drain, so it automatically comes into my house, or my neighbor’s,” said Avenue Z resident Kahled Yafai. “My driveway slopes down, and the water goes right into my basement.”
Nobody on the block can even remember what work was being done last year to justify the barrels’ original placement — or who was doing it — and the city doesn’t seem to know either. Multiple called to 311 asking for some agency to take responsibility for the barrels and haul them away have come to naught.
“I’ve called them many, many times, more than seven times. I’m not the only one, my neighbors have called too,” said Yafai. “Unfortunately, the barrels are still here.”
To make matters worse, only a few of the barrels are labeled at all, and those that do have markings only have “Triumph” stencilled on their sides, with no information on how to contact the barrels’ owner.
Council candidate Chaim Deutsch has tried to track down whoever abandoned the barrels, contacting multiple agencies directly — including the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health, the Department of Sanitation, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority — but he said that all of the agencies denied responsibility. Deutsch also reached out to a New York-based construction company called Triumph, but his messages were not returned.
“There’s no reason for this negligence,” said Deutsch. “People shouldn’t have to suffer and have their quality of life destroyed because of some contractor leaving his barrels at a site.”
Deutsch says the city needs to start requiring clear labeling on all traffic barrels and other gear set up for construction or repair projects, so that locals can easily track down the owners if necessary.
“I propose that all loose construction objects should clearly state the name and number of the agency or company they belong to,” said Deutsch. “It shouldn’t take more than one phone call to get a mess like this cleaned up.”