2014-02-14 / Top Stories

Pinson Flooding Getting A Fix

By Miriam Rosenberg

Pinson Street on a typical day. Photo courtesy Charles Burkhead Pinson Street on a typical day. Photo courtesy Charles Burkhead Sewage water backs onto streets and into basements making residents sick. Cars and even school buses need rescue as they attempt to make their way through the constantly flooded street. Now a $22.5 million project has been announced to relieve the flooding on the 1400 block of Pinson Street in Far Rockaway.

On January 29th, Councilman Donovan Richards joined residents and members of the Bayswater Civic Association for a walk-through of the oft-flooded, sometimes ice covered block. This was after the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Design and Construction announced the project to residents at a meeting at Richards’ office on January 22nd.

Richards said the upcoming project should resolve the problem that has plagued residents for years. “They are going to get new storm sewers,” said Richards on Wednesday. “This is something this area does not have…. There’s no place for the water to go right now.”

Tape blocks an area where several vehicles have been trapped. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Tape blocks an area where several vehicles have been trapped. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg He added, “This is a street that has been neglected and obviously since the storm (Sandy) they’ve started to see an increase in the water.”

Charles Burkhead, who has lived on the block for 10 years, tried for months to get help for his block. It wasn’t until he contacted former council speaker Christine Quinn last year, who in return got in touch with Richards, that he began to see action.

“The water problem has existed for over a year,” said Burkhead. “My yard is full of water. The sidewalk is full of water which freezes up and turns to ice. The street has large pot holes under the water which causes cars to get stuck.”

Burkhead told The Wave the problem got worse after Sandy and after nearby Battery Road was raised.

Warner Holmes is a frequent visitor to the block and talked about the problems his girlfriend encounters.

“The water comes up to her knee so she can’t get her mail,” Holmes said

Another neighbor, who lives next to the bay, recalled for Richards the experience off getting his wife through the water to a waiting ambulance when she went into labor.

Richards cautioned the project will begin with necessary preliminary work. “They won’t see relief right away, and I want to make that very clear that it doesn’t happen overnight. But I think we are moving in the right direction and obviously there is still a lot of work to do.”

The Pinson Street project, which was originally scheduled to begin in 2015, has been moved up to this summer. It will be part of the already- scheduled Chandler Street Sanitary and Storm Sewer renovation which also begins this summer.

In the meantime, Richards advises residents to call his office when the street floods so he can arrange for the Department of Environmental Protection to drain the streets.

The residents just want some normalcy.

“I want to be able to park my car in the yard, have friends over and things like that,” Burkhead said.

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