BY NATHAN DUKE
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) joined residents from College Point’s Powells Cove Boulevard on Saturday to call on the city to address a flooding condition that has plagued the community for more than 20 years.
Gathering at the corner of Powells Cove Boulevard and 126th Street, the senator and local residents stood around a massive pool of water from the past week’s rainfall that had frozen over and showed no signs of going away.
For the past two years, Avella said that he has been working with residents on the street to call on several city agencies—including the departments of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection (DEP)—to fix the street’s roadbed and address its flooding conditions. The senator noted that the DOT had inspected the location, blamed the flooding on a lack of storm sewers and notified him that the DEP must address the situation before the DOT could fix the road.
Last summer, the DEP told Avella that it would open a 90-day investigation of the road, but the senator said that he had never been told the conclusions of the investigation.
“I’m not sure how the city expects people to live with conditions like this,” Avella said. “How they allow their residents to live in such a flood-prone area without proper drainage or a sewer system is beyond me. Just because these New Yorkers live at the end of College Point does not mean that [the city] should treat them like they live at the end of the world. Something needs to be done immediately. It is absurd that residents are still having to beg for basic city services like storm sewers.”
A city spokesman—who noted that he spoke on behalf of the DOT and DEP—said that the site was under review.
“City engineers are determining what upgrades are feasible along Powells Cove Boulevard,” he said.
Residents who live on the block said that the site has been prone to flooding for more than 25 years and that during the winter, the road becomes especially treacherous.
“This condition has been like this for 26 years,” said resident Irina Ngai. “The basins are not connected to the New York City sewers. This condition persists year-round and, in the winter, it is like this every day. In the winter, when it snows, it floods and turns icy and slippery. In the summertime, there are mosquitoes—it attracts disease and the debris creates a hazard. The most important thing to do now is to connect the basin to the city sewer to help drain the water. If that was to happen, most of the problem would go away.”
Reach editor-in-chief Nathan Duke via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 122.