2010-11-26 / Top Stories

Gaska Addresses Construction Complaints

By Miriam Rosenberg

Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14, answers concerns about the construction of the roads and sewers in Sommerville and Arverne. Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14, answers concerns about the construction of the roads and sewers in Sommerville and Arverne. Street construction and installation of new sewer systems have caused headaches for local residents as they navigate their way on the more than usual bumpy Rockaway roads in the Sommerville and Arverne areas the last few months.

The problem was brought to light by one local during the Rockaway Task Force meeting at Goldie Maple Academy earlier this month.

“If there was an emergency now, we could not get off of Rockaway,” said a woman. “All of the streets are torn up. It tears our cars up. I’ve been living here for a long time. I appreciate what has been happening. We’ve gotten new homes. But if they just finish one thoroughfare and then do another, [we] would be grateful.” Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14 and a member of the task force, addressed the matter.

For months residents have lived with streets being torn up and new sewer systems being installed, such as at Beach 62 Street and Beach Channel Drive in August. For months residents have lived with streets being torn up and new sewer systems being installed, such as at Beach 62 Street and Beach Channel Drive in August. “The issue is that things [that] have been on priority for 20 or 30 years [are] finally getting funded,” said Gaska. ‘There’s sufficient infrastructure improvement.

The problem is it’s all happening at once making it very difficult to get back and forth. On Beach Channel Drive … it’s about a $65 million project, which is actually running ahead of schedule and should be done sometime in the spring. We’re very hesitant to say no.

The city is finally offering to do the infrastructure here. We’re very hesitant to say no because they may not be [able to come back]. So that’s the issue. It’s kind of all happening at once.” While Gaska acknowledged the inconvenience, he said, “We’re getting all new roads, curbs and sanitary storm systems, so it’s going to be very nice.”

He also said residents can contact the community board if they find any roads particularly unsafe.

“They’re not going to pave the streets until the project is done. If there are sections that are unsafe you can contact the community board and we can come and have them do a little strip work, but quite frankly it’s going to be an inconvenience probably until the spring.”

Gaska assured residents that should an evacuation for a hurricane happen there would be plenty of time to leave the peninsula with a two-day warning.

While he agreed that the roads are “horrible” Gaska said they are “passable” and reminded those at the meeting that the community where the work is taking place has been “clamoring for this work for over two decades so we’re getting what we asked for. But at the end of the day it’s going to be really nice.”

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