Elected officials want colonial era lane added to city blocks

Elected officials want colonial era lane added to city blocks
Neighbor Luis Malave gestures towards a sinkhole filled with water along the stretch of the state-owned road known as Old Post Road parallel to Broadway near West 251st Street.
Schneps Media / Patrick Rocchio

A boondoggle of a street that’s a remnant of the borough’s past is causing some real-life pain today.

An unpaved road called Old Albany Post Road, which may be part of a colonial era road that linked New York with Albany according to neighbors, has fallen into disrepair and concerned citizens are urging the NYC Department of Transportation to take over the care and maintenance of the block long stretch.

It is currently unpaved and recently became prone to flooding, said activist Luis Malave, adding that the construction of a retaining wall on a nearby property may have contributed to the situation.

The lane, running parallel to Broadway just steps away from Van Cortlandt Park, had a water filled crater 15 feet in length not far from where the road meets West 251st Street and a clogged storm drain nearby when concerned residents notified the city on Friday, January 18.

Residents use Old Albany Post Road to access garages at nearby properties. Until the sinkhole opened and other flooding occurred over the past year, garbage pick-up used to take place there, said Malave.

Malave and some neighbors brought Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Councilman Andrew Cohen to the site on January 18th, both of who are pushing the city to take over stewardship of the strip of land.

Dinowitz and Cohen have petitioned New York state under the New York Public Land Law Section 34 to sell the land to the city. A single dollar is all that’s needed for the city to purchase the land and turn it over to DOT.

The land is currently under the jurisdiction of the NYS Office of General Services, according to a source.

Dinowitz said that the state is willing to surrender its ownership.

The assemblyman said that he believes that the city needs to take over the care of the road, which runs north from West 251st Street for a block, and added he believes that the city has an obligation to fix it, noting that they maintain all nearby streets.

“The disastrous condition of Old Albany Post Road has plagued our community for long enough,” said Dinowitz.

Dinowitz said that the lengthy puddle has jolted many an unsuspecting motorist, sometimes damaging the vehicles, and that other motorists have had to contend with its many large potholes. Illegal dumping is another concern.

“This stretch of road is a blight on our community that erodes people’s faith in government,” said Dinowitz. “New York City and New York state must find a solution without further delay to bring Old Albany Post into a state of good repair.”

Cohen said that state has not been a good steward of the land, and thinks making it a city street with local services is the right thing to do as a practical matter.

“While NYC DOT is studying it, the people here have an untenable situation, so we are hoping to get swift action,” said Cohen, adding “The city is in better position to take ownership of this road, build it out and maintain it.”

The assemblyman added that the standing water on the road will become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and thus a health hazard.

A spokeswoman for DOT said they are still studying the issue.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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