tree, damage

Uprooted: New York’s City’s Failing Attempt to Repair Tree-Damaged Sidewalks.


New Yorkers are constantly on the go and know that walking is just about always the quickest method of getting from point A to B in our sprawling metropolis. Even if New Yorkers did want to give their legs a rest every once in a while, the city’s failing subway system and congested automobile traffic tends to make staying on one’s feet the only option. Unfortunately, despite its comparable swiftness, walking in New York City has its dangers thanks to the inefficiency of our city’s government bureaucracy. These dangers have developed as the result of the City of New York’s consistent failure to repair hazards resulting from tree-damaged sidewalks in a timely matter.

A recent audit completed by the comptroller of New York City has exposed just how inefficient the city government has been in regards to sidewalk repairs, with the audit clearly showing that blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the City’s Parks department. The statistics found in the audit are quite damning; for one, residents had to wait an average of 101 days for inspection after filing a service request to have a tree-damaged sidewalk examined. Furthermore, homeowners, on average, had to wait 419 days after inspection was done, to receive a repair. This means, that on average, homeowners and residents had to wait 520 days (over 1 year and 5 months) to have dangerous sidewalk conditions repaired. Unfortunately, sometimes these repairs do not come at all.

The audit harrowingly revealed that over 1500 requests for sidewalk repairs went unfulfilled. Of these 1500 or so requests, only 909 of the locations were found to be ineligible for repair. 475 of the repair requests were found to be eligible for repair, but alas, remained unfixed. Even worse than the above, is that there were found to be 143 cases in which the parks department failed to show sufficient information as to why a service request went unfulfilled; clear proof of how inefficient bureaucracy can be and the real life perils that government incompetence can create. Despite the above facts, the City of New York and its Parks department, has refused to take blame.

The Parks departments has publicly contradicted the findings of the audit, stating that it fails to take into account how repair prioritization work; a system, that the City of New York purportedly claims is based off of the perceived amount of danger a particular tree-damaged sidewalk creates. Furthermore, the Parks department has stated that property owners are legally responsible for the maintenance of city sidewalks. However, to the surprise of few, the rebuttals of the Parks Department are not strong. For one, an average wait time of 520 days to repair a dangerous condition is absurd, regardless of where said condition ranks on the Park department’s list of priorities. Secondly, our firm’s decades of experience have taught us that fixing the sidewalk properly is by no means clear cut when it comes to New York City’s sidewalks. In may cases where the sidewalk is uplifted by roots, the property owner is required to repair the sidewalk, but is not allowed to make alterations to the tree or tree roots, which is the responsibility of the City of New York and the Department of Parks.Thus, a property owner who wants to make repairs may be stymied by the City’s failure to correct the underlying problem caused by the tree and tree roots.

It is unfortunate, but lamenting over the inefficiency of our city’s government does little to fix things, as residents continue to put themselves in harm’s way every day by walking on city sidewalks.

If you have been injured as the result of an un-repaired tree-damaged sidewalk in New York City, you should contact an experienced NYC Personal injury lawyer. Zalman, Schnurman & Miner P.C. has decades of experience dealing with sidewalk cases, and the knowledge to ensure that those injured through no fault of their own are fairly compensated. If you would like to get in touch with Zalman, Schnurman, and Miner for a free consultation. 1-800-LAWLINE (1-800-529-5463)

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