2010-04-09 / Letters

Hurricane Floods Can Happen Here!

Dear Editor,

We get no respect… Broad Channel, Queens needs advocates as good the ones the birds the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge have. Instead, government officials have no regard for our basic human dignity or welfare.

The long suffering residents of West 12 Road in Broad Channel need help because the high-tide from Jamaica Bay floods our block sometimes twice a month for a week each time. We need to know the full and new moon schedule because that’s when tidal flooding happens and can reach Cross Bay Boulevard- NY1 was sunned during last week’s storm when they witnessed it. We all need a pair of boots in our cars and waders at home.

Obviously being of limited mobility is not only a liability, but potentially lethal. My 83-year old heart patient mother is not allowed us to visit us anymore.

Other blocks don’t flood near as much like West 14 Road. The problem is Broad Channel is a 100 plus yearold fishing village that’s largely governed by the Federal EPA because of our proximity to the Wildlife Refuge. We are threatened with multi-thousand dollar fines for property improvements that are routine elsewhere in the city, because a shadow might be cast into the Channel behind our homes, somehow threatening wildlife. Yet no one is concerned about the homes on East 12 Road whose waste lines are still not hooked up to the city’s sewers, so when the tide’s up, we’re slogging through sewage.

Services taken for granted elsewhere; proper road paving, regular trash pick up, mail delivery, and basic things like safely parking a car in front of one’s house, or our children being able to walk to/from school are threatened by the tide. If a live electrical wire falls during a storm into the tide water, someone can be electrocuted. There was an attempt to “address” the problem by crowning the center of our street, which has created perpetual puddles in front of some houses that were never there before and turn into sheets of ice when it’s cold. Why do we pay taxes?

It’s time for real corrective action-no more meetings or surveys- a seawall and raising the street to the level it was before the city installed sewer lines in the 1980’s- I’m told it was about 3 feet higher than now. During the meeting of October 13, 2006 (one of many) at the Office of the Queens Borough President, DOT staff said they were working “on a two phase plan of remediation to address tidal street flooding consisting of an initial (near term) remediation of end of street “outfalls” to be followed (long term) by a Capital Project HWQ1182 to address the current deficiencies in street grade level of the streets of Broad Channel.”

Work was to begin in January 2007, yet to date, nothing has been done. What happened to Capital Project HWQ1182? This is for the birds!

SOPHIE A. VAILAKIS-DeVIRGILI

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