Tag Archives: City Comptroller

Three major Queens roadways led city in costly pothole claims: Stringer


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Queens streets have gone to pot.

Potholes on three major arteries serving Queens cost the city tens of millions of dollars in accident claims over the last six years, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

In a “ClaimStat alert” he issued on Thursday, Stringer said the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, along with the Grand Central and Belt parkways, accounted for a combined 1,561 claims between the 2010 and 2015 fiscal years, leading all other roadways in the five boroughs.

Back in February, the Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that Queens had the most potholes in the entire city.

The Belt Parkway, in particular, proved to resemble Swiss cheese more than a street, as the report pointed out that it “had the most pothole claims in four of the six years examined…making it by far the most pot-holed roadway in the city.”

Damages to vehicles that hit potholes on streets citywide cost taxpayers nearly $1.5 million in claims the city settled with drivers over the six-year period, Stringer noted. An additional 2,681 personal injury claims resulting from potholes and pedestrian falls on defective roadways were settled for $136.3 million during the same period.

The comptroller indicated that the alert gives the DOT a “road map” for making proper repairs well in advance of the winter weather that precipitates the creation of potholes.

“Potholes are serious trouble,” Stringer said in a statement. “They deflate tires, break axles and twist ankles, often at a significant financial cost to the city.”

According to the report, the common settlement for pothole damages to vehicles was $500, with 76 percent of all settlements amounting to $1,000 or less. Queens had a total of 3,590 pothole claims on its streets.

For personal injury claims related to slips, trips and falls on defective roadways, the city paid an average of between $2 and $9 million, with a plurality of them (48 percent) costing $5,000 or less. Only 211 settlements during the period were of $100,000 or greater.

Not surprisingly, pothole and personal injury claims related to defective streets spiked in years when winter weather wreaked havoc on New York City. Higher claims were also reported in areas of the city where the majority of households own a car, including much of eastern and southwest Queens. Sixty-four percent of Queens households, in total, have at least one vehicle.

As with the most recent winter, the DOT went on a “pothole blitz” across the five boroughs whenever the weather was fair enough to allow for emergency street repairs. The city is also experimenting with a different asphalt formula containing rubber which it hopes will prove more durable.

Stringer’s report, however, suggested that the DOT should consider whether some streets particularly prone to potholes should be completely reconstructed. It also called on the city to re-examine its road resurfacing procedures to make sure the best practices are followed.

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Candidates eye Meng’s Assembly seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Several hopefuls in two buzzing primaries have their eyes set on the hotly-contested and potentially open State Assembly seat in the brewing District 40 race.

The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is making a run for Congress in the 6th District. While Meng’s spokesperson did not directly address whether or not she would seek re-election if her campaign falls short of Capitol Hill, the race to take her place is heating up.

GOP runner Phil Gim got the backing of the Queens County Republican Party and focused his campaign around restoring power — and more jobs — to voters during his June 4 campaign kickoff. The candidate, who was born in China, said small businesses were the engines of job creation and said he has plans to make the state friendlier to mom and pop shops.

“This just can’t be about Wall Street anymore,” said Gim, 60, of Whitestone. “This is about Main Street, Francis Lewis Boulevard, Parsons Boulevard and Northern Boulevard.”

Gim, a former postal worker and census supervisor, is a father of four and resident of Queens since 1986. He will face off with Flushing community activist Sunny Hahn during the September 13 primary.

Hahn, who announced her candidacy on May 31, centered her first run for office on her vision for putting Flushing on the map as the “greatest destination in New York City in the 21st century” and uniting both immigrant and American-born communities.

“We really have to transcend and have to think collectively as Americans,” said Hahn, 60, a retired city human rights specialist. “Don’t give up. If you give up, America will be in trouble. Start dreaming again.”

Hahn, a Korean native, hopes to gain the endorsements of the Independent and Conservative Party but said she would plow forward on the campaign trail regardless.

Candidate Ron Kim will be running on the Democratic ticket with endorsements from the Queens County Democratic Organization and City Comptroller John Liu.

The South Korean-born community activist began his career in public service as an aide to then-Assemblymember Mark Weprin before moving on to work for the city’s Department of Buildings and the Department of Small Business Services. He served as vice president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York and currently advocates on behalf of children with special needs and small businesses.

“Public service is about protecting the most vulnerable among us while ensuring that opportunity exists for all our citizens,” said Kim, a Flushing resident. “As an immigrant and the son of a Vietnam veteran, I have seen just how much is possible in this great country.”

Democratic hopefuls Ethel Chen, Myungsuk Lee and Yen Chou have reportedly decided to run for the seat as well, although they could not be reached for comment in time for press.