The city’s Parks Department works at such a snail’s pace repairing tree-damaged sidewalks that some homeowners are left waiting more than a decade for them to be fixed, a new comptroller’s audit shows.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office reviewed the 11,392 service requests that the Parks Department received in fiscal year 2017 to repair sidewalks damaged by overgrown tree roots.
It found that residents first had to wait an average of 101 days just for agency foresters to inspect their property.
Getting the city to actually fix the cracked, crumbling sidewalks was even worse in terms of wait time.
A review of the 1,069 sidewalks that the department actually got around to fixing that year showed the lag time between inspections and actual repairs was well over a year — or 419 days. That means that the entire process, start to finish, lasted on average 520 days.
One repair on Warwick Street near New Lots Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn, was completed in June 2017 — more than 11 years after the original complaint came in, records show.
Residents on the block say they’re not surprised because they feel the city treats them like second-class citizens compared to those who live in more affluent neighborhoods.
“It really just reflects what they feel we deserved,” said Frankie Charles, 24. “This isn’t a nice neighborhood… Would they really rather fix East New York, or would they rather send the funds to some other spot they see as better?
“A lot of people leave here because of things like this, and the sidewalks just add to it.”
Meanwhile, the Warwick Street repair made two years ago appears to be no longer holding up.
The Post last week spotted tree roots outside the property, at 715 Warwick St., extending from the ground, raising parts of the sidewalk with it and creating a potential pedestrian hazard. The pathway by the tree was also noticeably cracked.
The city in most cases is liable for defective sidewalks that create tripping hazards. It settled six such claims in 2017 totaling in $1.3 million.
“Our street trees are some of our most vibrant neighborhood markers, yet New Yorkers often have to wait more than a year for basic maintenance,” Stringer told The Post.
‘A lot of people leave here because of things like this, and the sidewalks just add to it.’
“That delay could be the difference between an accident and a safe walk or passage for a stroller or a wheelchair. We can’t wait until the worst happens.”The 25-page audit also found that the agency is so backlogged with work orders that one request to fix part of a pathway along Blair Avenue in the Throggs Neck section of The Bronx remained unanswered after nearly six years.
The report also found that of the 16,558 service complaints the Parks Department received over a two-year period ending June 30, 2017, only 27 percent were inspected within the agency’s own internal 30-day target timeline.
Meghan Lalor, a Parks Department spokeswoman, said the audit findings “represent a fundamental misconception of the mission” of the agency’s Trees and Sidewalks program.
“Repairs are prioritized based on relative risk to public safety and impact on the tree — not the age of the service requests,” she said.
She didn’t address why it takes so long to get foresters to inspect complaints in the first place.