Headache on E. 134th Street

Louis Cooper stands next to a temporary road grate and an unpaved curb on the north side of E. 134 Street between Willis Avenue and Brown Place. Cooper is concerned about what he feels is an unfinished project. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

With construction on the Willis Avenue Bridge periodically closing auto access to their street, and unfinished curb work hampering parking, residents and businesses along a stretch of East 134th Street are crying foul.

Louis Cooper, who lives in a 19th Century brownstone on East 134th Street between Willis Avenue and Brown Place, said the company in charge of replacing underground sewer and power lines needs to come back and finish minor work.

He also said the Willis Avenue Bridge reconstruction is closing off the only egress to the one-way block – Willis Avenue – for hours at a time. This forces cars and trucks to either back down the long block from Brown Place or drive the wrong way down the street.

Cooper pointed out a temporary grate he says the construction company left on the northern side of the street. Cooper said the road covering is making it impossible for the Department of Sanitation to fully clean that side of the street, and that an unfinished curb is making parking difficult.

“They cannot just leave a grate there forever; there also is supposed to be a curb for people who are getting out of their cars on that side of the street, but it was never replaced when new electrical and sewer line work was recently completed,” Cooper said.

Robert Marrin, president of Marrin’s Moving on the block, said the closure of Willis Avenue between Bruckner Boulevard and East 134th Street is negatively impacting his business.

“If Willis Avenue is closed because of construction, our delivery trucks have to back down the street because it is a one-way street,” Marrin said. “Step-Mar [Contracting] said they would come back and complete the repairs, but obviously the proof is in the pudding.”

A spokesperson for Step-Mar Contracting at 732 Longfollow Avenue blamed the unfinished work on Kiewit Contracting.

Whoever is responsible, residents and business owners hope something will be done soon.

“We recently had a domestic dispute on the block, and the police and E.M.S. vehicles had to back down the street, too,” Marrin said.

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