Local street leaves a sinking feeling

The Department of Environmental Protection submitted a work order to permanently repair the infrastructure of the road at the intersection of Van Buren Street and Morris Park Avenue. Photo by Walter Pofeldt

A sinking street continues to remain the center of concern for local Van Nest residents who patiently wait for needed city intervention.

“How irresponsible could you be as a city agency to leave something like that in the middle of the street,” Community Board 11 district manager John Fratta angrily questioned about a gaping hole that threatened drivers who attempted to navigate down Van Buren Street near Morris Park Avenue.

“It was a hazard and an accident waiting to happen,” he said.

While Fratta said he first noticed the hole, which measures approximately 3x3x3 feet, on Friday, August 1, while driving home from

work, a nearby store clerk said he saw the street beginning to cave-in in mid-June.

After numerous complaints to the Department of Environmental Protection, Fratta said the hole was re-backfilled over the weekend. While he was glad the issue received some attention, he added that the temporary solution simply wasn’t enough.

“When DEP looks at these things they put a band aid on them instead of stitches,” Fratta commented, referencing the obvious infrastructure problems that lay beneath the surface.

A neighboring resident, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed, saying this was at least the second time DEP filled in the hole.

“You have to wait until someone gets hurt, then they’ll come fix it,” he said about the necessity for a more permanent solution.

DEP spokesperson Mike Saucier believes the city agency did its best to solve the problem, stating, “When we know about something we go out and try and fix it, and that’s the case here.”

While the hole is no longer an immediate threat to pedestrians or drivers utilizing the roadway, Fratta said it took an unnecessary amount of effort to receive even the slightest safety relief.

In a further response to the community’s worries, DEP spokesperson Angel Roman, on Monday, August 11, said, “The Department of Environmental Protection investigated the location on Van Buren Street and Morris Park Avenue. It has been determined that there is a broken catch basin connection pipe and a work order for the repair has been submitted.”

Fratta stated he would maintain contact with DEP until the work is completed and the hole is secured permanently.

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