Wait for street repairs now exceeds 2 years


Nat Solomon, 72, was walking down Stevenson Place, a small potholed road near Sedgwick Avenue, a couple of months ago when, he said, he was nearly hit by a Hummer.

It has been two years since the Department of Transportation promised to repair the road and make is safer, Solomon said, and he and other local seniors are wondering when officials will deliver on the promises.

“The pavement has been all chewed up,” Solomon as he walked the area with a Press reporter last week.

“They’ve done work on it over the years—patchwork stuff, which leaves these holes in the ground and an elderly person stepping in one of these can end up with an injury or worse.”

On a recent day, large cracks could be seen along the center of Stevenson Place as it curved up a hill, which had a large pothole in the middle. The curve at the top of the hill blocked the view. Below, where Stevenson Place reaches Sedgwick Avenue near a high-rise apartment building, there were more cracks in the street.

“This has not been maintained at all,” Solomon said. “So, people walk right in the middle. Cars come up and they come around the corner. Sooner or later, somebody is going to be hit.”

The near-collision with a Hummer two months ago underscored his fears: “I was right around the corner and the guy was going about 45 miles an hour and I jumped out of the way,” Solomon said. “If I hadn’t jumped, I would have been killed. I jumped out the way, literally.”

Other local seniors share his concerns.

Marilyn Newman, 81, said that she walks along Stevenson Place to reach the JASA senior program, housed by the Van Cortlandt Jewish Center on Sedgwick Avenue. Last year, she fell while walking in the area, she said.

It was “very bad going up that hill,” she said, adding: “It would be such a godsend to seniors if we had a smoother road.”

Stanley Auster, 88, said the road was “very, very risky.” He uses a walker, but said it does not help much when the road becomes slippery and the walker’s wheels slide.

“I have seen many, many people tripping, sliding and twisting their ankles because it’s so irregular and so full of little minor potholes,” Auster said. “If there is a little drizzle, you have a puddle here, and if it’s cold, you have ice over there.”

Ismael Bernard, a caretaker at the Van Cortlandt Jewish Center synagogue, said he fears the unpaired road will eventually lead to an accident.

“The problem is when you are coming up the hill. You can’t see anything until you get to the top of the hill because it’s like a blind spot,” Bernard said.

Sedgwick Avenue, according to local seniors, presents its own hazards. Solomon said he would like the Transportation Department to install a red light at Sedgwick Avenue between Giles Place and Van Cortlandt Avenue West because of the heavy traffic coming off the Major Deegan.

“People take their life into their hands when they cross Sedgwick Avenue… because there is no traffic regulation,” he said.

Bernard, meanwhile, would like the city to install a speed bump on Stevenson Place, in addition to repairing the road.

Local politicians, such as Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and state Senator Jeffrey Klein, have been pressing the Transportation Department for some answers.

The department responded in a letter dated Jan. 20, 2015 and signed by the then-Bronx borough commissioner, Constance Moran. City inspectors had surveyed the area, the letter said, and “we will place the location on our maintenance list for pothole repairs,” according to the document provided to The Press.

The area was still on the “maintenance list” some 18 months later, according to another letter the Transportation Department sent to Klein’s office in June 2016, responding to another request, a spokesperson for the state senator said.

In an email response to The Press this month, a Transportation Department spokesperson said the “DOT is aware of the requests and is studying the feasibility of traffic controls at this location.”

The Press has also received what looked like an automated reply from the DOT, thanking it for “recent correspondence requesting a Traffic Signal at the intersection of Sedgwick Avenue and Stevenson Place” and adding the “request has been assigned to the appropriate Operational Unit and has been given case [number].”

“You will receive a response by April, 2017,” the email added.

“They promised that the work would be carried out. Nothing’s happening. Nothing. It’s absurd,” Solomon said.

DOT, Stanley Auster, Nat Solomon, Marilyn Newman, JASA, Stevenson Place, Transportation Department