Potholes at Record Highs But City Slow to Respond

Reports to 311 regarding potholes have increased by 56 percent over the past five years and are projected to reach a record high in 2011, but the city uses inefficient means to deal with the problem, a new report by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio states.

According to de Blasio, when a resident calls 311 to record a pothole complaint, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) sends out an inspection team. If the DOT finds a pothole, it fixes the problem and closes the 311 complaint, but if the DOT determines the problem is a sinkhole, which is handled by the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the DOT team still closes out the complaint. There is no communication between the two agencies, and residents must make another 311 call specifically reporting the sinkhole to have their roadways fixed, de Blasio said.

“This is a classic example of one hand of government not working with the other,” de Blasio said. “This bureaucracy is wasting taxpayer dollars. Agencies should forward these requests and inspection reports automatically and immediately respond to each other to get repairs made as quickly as possible.”

The city should streamline its 311 system to forward complaints and inspection reports to the proper department if the original inspection team finds it is outside of its jurisdiction, de Blasio said. He noted that the “simple” change would save the city money, simplify 311 reporting and improve the speed of repairs.

The DOT has made fixing potholes and improving streets a priority and reports more than 4 million square yards of city roadways were repaved in 2011. Residents can report a pothole by calling 311 or online at nyc.gov/dot.

By Eric Yun


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