How the Pothole on 70th Road Finally Got Fixed

Later rather than sooner

A week before Mayor Bloomberg came to Queens Monday to announce a pedestrian safety program, residents say the city's Dept. of Transportation sent crews to fix a vexing pothole.

The hole was right next to the curb at 70th Road and Queens Boulevard, one of the city's most dangerous intersections for pedestrians.

"I saw a 94 year-old man step into it and fall on his head," said Yudi Grabie, of Forest Hills. "He was hurt badly enough that the ambulance came."

Asked how long she'd been avoiding the 10 foot-long pothole, an elderly woman walking around it Tuesday responded "years." Phil Scalcione says he called 311 "two times last year and two more times this year." A DOT crew finally showed up last week to make repairs, to Scalcione's relief.

Make that temporary relief.

"They put a smooth patch around the corner in a place that didn't even have a rut in it. Can you imagine that?" the Middle Village resident recalled incredulously. "I called up, after I had my nervous breakdown, and I screamed at the man on 311. He said, 'We'll put in another complaint.' "

"Sometimes that is what is wrong with 311. Things don't get done as fast as they should," said Queens City Council Member Karen Koslowitz. She urged constituents  to call her office directly for quicker action.

But it was only three hours after a call to the transportation commissioner's spokesman -- from NBCNewYork -- that a DOT hole-filling crew and two supervisors arrived at 70th Road. Within a half hour the injury-inducing hole was history.

"My oldest hole in the City right now is 20 days. And we have over 200 holes in Queens alone," said DOT Queens Streets Superintendent Carl Delgeorge. "So I think that's, you know, pretty good."

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