City finally fixing root-damaged sidewalks in Sheepshead Bay

Thumbs up!: Bedford Avenue homeowner Ira Brown celebrates his new-and-improved sidewalk with Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay).
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They’re finally getting to the root of the problem!

Homeowners who have waited years for the city to fix their uneven sidewalks that were cracked and broken by the roots of city-owned street trees are finally getting some tree-lief, their local pol announced on Oct. 20.

“The problem is the city was too slow. We need to hold the city responsible to come and do their repairs,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay). “That’s why I was upset all these years and pushing for it, and finally now it’s getting done.”

Homeowners are typically responsible for maintaining the sidewalk outside their home — but the Parks Department actually foots the bill to fix sidewalks that have been damaged by the city’s own tree roots through its free Trees and Sidewalks Program. In the meantime, however, homeowners are liable for any injuries if someone strips on the defective pavement.

Homeowners can either hire their own contractor to make repairs, pay it out of pocket, and then send the city the bill for reimbursement, or wait for the Parks Department to fix these accidents waiting to happen. But the city had been dragging its feet for far too long — and didn’t even have a contractor until a few months ago — to fix the many broken and cracked sidewalks in Deutsch’s district, so the councilman put in a phone call to the Parks Department’s head honcho Marty Maher and pressed to expedite the program in his district as soon as he got word that a contractor had finally been hired, he said.

“When tree roots lift a sidewalk, it is a trip hazard, it’s unsightly, and it’s subjecting the homeowner to more difficult maintenance,” said Deutsch, whose 48th Council district has 92 homeowners in the program, according to city data. “This was simply unacceptable, and I’ve been pushing the Parks Commissioner to expedite the process so these broken-up sidewalks can be fixed.”

And one Bedford Avenue homeowner who had been waiting years for the city to come and mend his hazardous sidewalk is grateful to finally be able to walk on an even pathway.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Ira Brown, who lives between Avenues W and X.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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