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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #09-048

NYC DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan Announces Program To Accelerate Sidewalk Repairs

Queens pilot program allows property owners to quickly repair sidewalks and resolve violations

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced a pilot program that will help Queens property owners make sidewalk repairs outside their properties more quickly and to resolve violations issued by the DOT for cracked sidewalks, trip hazards and other defects without significant additional cost. Under the expedited repair program, DOT contractors can begin sidewalk repair or replacement work within 45 days of a property owner's request, which can be made online or by mailing a request to DOT's Office of Sidewalk Management. The average sidewalk repair process can take several years, and this pilot will quicken the pace. Importantly, keeping sidewalks in good condition improves the safety of all who use them. By repairing sidewalks expeditiously and removing conditions that may cause others to trip or fall, property owners are enhancing the quality of life for their neighbors, while also decreasing their liability for legal action that may result in injuries. Property owners wishing to hire a private contractor to make repairs can now also search an online database listing all licensed contractors at www.nyc.gov/sidewalks.

"New York City's sidewalks are the front yards to our homes, and pedestrian safety depends on keeping them in a state of good repair," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "Fixing cracked and uneven walkways shouldn't have to be a drawn-out task, which is why this program streamlines the repair process to let homeowners who want to make repairs do so quickly."

If issued a violation for sidewalk cracks or other defects, property owners currently may hire a private contractor to make repairs or, if they are not repaired, the sidewalks are subject to repair by the City at the owner’s expense. Through the program, property owners can opt to have work performed by a DOT contractor at the rate of between $11-13 per square foot, a higher rate than the $8 to $9 under the current DOT system. An average one-family home in Queens has approximately 200 square feet of adjacent sidewalk space. Approximately 40% of sidewalk violations Citywide are fixed by property owners who hire a private contractor. The City will bill property owners for the total square footage and cost of the repair work. With 673,200,200 square feet of sidewalks Citywide, and with more than 5,000 properties that have open sidewalk violations in Queens alone, work can be delayed, potentially for as long as five years until work can be coordinated within a particular Community District. As it is the responsibility of property owners of one-, two- or three-family homes to maintain their own sidewalks and pay for any repairs, taxpayer revenues are not used for the repairs.

Certain properties are not eligible for this program, including properties within community boards where DOT sidewalk contracts are already underway at the time of the request (currently that affects Queens Community Districts 8,9 and 11), homes that are for four-families/units or more, properties scheduled for capital reconstruction, vaulted properties (those sidewalks containing vaults attached to buildings) and properties with distinctive sidewalk treatments such as bluestone, granite or decorative pavement.

The City has already made it easier for property owners to select contractors by providing a Web site that lists the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs licensed home improvement contractors for sidewalk repair. Property owners can view the entire list or search by name to see if a particular contractor is licensed at http://a841-dotwebpcard01.nyc.gov/HIC/.

Further information on the Expedited Repair Program is available online at www.nyc.gov/dot, including the form property owners can mail to the agency's Office of Sidewalk Management.

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