These locals raving over paving

Lou Rocco (right) and Greg Joseph of the Westchester Square Civic Association will finally be able to clean the newly repaved Marvin Place, now that the city has recognized it - and covered the potholes.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

For decades, one dead-end street in Westchester Square was off the grid, pocked with cracks and ignored by city agencies.

Marvin Place, which juts off St. Raymond Avenue between St. Peter’s Avenue and Overing Street, was never put on the city’s map. City agencies shed responsibiltity from answering the cries of locals griping about trash pileups and a rash of potholes.

But after a local push, Marvin Place is now officially on the map — and will soon be looking sharp.

The Department of Transportation sent a crew to repave the once-off-limits street Monday, Mar. 17. Soon it will be like any other street within the city grid: subject to Department of Sanitation cleaning schedules, outfitted with storm-catching basins and freshly painted signage.

Tough to clean

“This is a major win for us, and is long overdue for this community,” said Lou Rocco of the Westchester Square Civic Association, which was formed in 2012 to tackle these sorts of neighborhood issues.

Rocco’s group organizes nabe cleanups, but Marvin Place’s chewed-up gravel was always impossible to beautify, he said.

“It wasn’t even worth it,” he said. “All kinds of trash would get caught in the holes. It was a mess.”

Long time issue

Marvin Place’s residents had raised concerns about their strange street since long before Rocco formed his group.

““We’ve been waiting forever to see something done. I hope our wait is almost over, ”local resident Helen Samuels told the Times-Reporter back in 2008, when locals brought the issue to the attention of Community Board 10.

Sen. Jeff Klein, whose district office fielded complaints about potholes on the street, called Marvin Place in the Times-Reporter’s 2008 story “one of the stranger cases we’ve had.”

But years later, in 2012, no progress had been made.

Rocco, a nabe activist who has lived in the area for 35 years, pressed the issue back into the limelight by starting a petition drive. He knocked on doors, collecting signatures of every homeowner on the street.

“They finally sent us the petition, and we were convinced that it was what locals wanted,” said Ken Kearns, CB 10’s district manager.

Kudos to bureaucracy

The bumpy street then breezed through the various channels of city bureaucracy. The board approved adding Marvin Place to the city map and sent the plan along to the Borough President’s office, which then sent it to the Law Department of the City of New York for final approval.

“I think it actually worked pretty quickly, and the agencies responded well,” said Kearns.

Rocco is pleased as well, and expects to take his annual cleanups to the newly paved street. But the relentless nabe activist could not resist registering a new complaint.

“DOT did a great job,” he said. “But now Marvin Place needs some streetlights.”

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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