BY LUIS GRONDA
The only road in and out of Hamilton Beach has been a problem for years and civic leaders say there is a quick solution to a long-time problem.
The main road for Hamilton Beach residents looking to either go back home or travel to other parts of the City – 104th Street – is littered with potholes and curves on the street.
Cars driving on the street go up and down its curves as if there were small speed humps instead of a normal street. Drivers often waver between both sides of the street in order to avoid driving over its various potholes, residents said.
In response to this issue, Roger Gendron, president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association, has been calling on the Dept. of Transportation to pave the road over so that the residents can have a smooth street to drive on and help mitigate any potential danger to the people, including car accidents.
“The key element is it is our only way in and out. It is our access to the outside world,” he said.
There is also a pedestrian bridge that provides access to old Howard Beach, but residents mainly cross it by foot rather than using their car.
During a Hamilton Beach Civic meeting in 2012, Gendron said then-Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy told residents that the road would be completely renovated as part of a capital project planned for the area.
But in this year’s budget, the project that was discussed by McCarthy is currently not on the docket, according to Gendron, leaving uncertainty for the problem road.
The road has been a nuisance for the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department as well.
Jonah Cohen, the head of the department, said that while it has not had a major impact, like slowing down response times to an emergency, he said the road has caused front-end damage to his vehicles, forcing them to spend thousands of dollars on repairs.
“The road sucks,” he said. “It has been destroying my vehicles for years.”
The repairs normally do not take too long to complete, according to Cohen, but there have been cases where one of their ambulance trucks would have to go out-of-service due to the repairs.
When asked about Gendron’s statement, a DOT spokesperson said the agency is currently focused on a project fixing nearby James Court, which it says is scheduled to be finished in 2016.
“While DOT will look to include 104th Street in a future reconstruction schedule, the agency will continue to monitor the roadway, which was assessed last month, repair potholes and perform any other short-term maintenance needs,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the agency has filled 321,229 pot holes this year, a 140 percent increase from last year, including 87,687 in Queens.
Local elected officials share Gendron’s view about the street needing to be fixed.
Both State Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) believe that the street must be fixed as soon as possible.
Addabbo said the road should be fixed before a major accident occurs on that street.
“Let’s try to prevent one before something happens,” he said. “I’d like to see this done soon.”
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.