When DDC and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) completed a $14.5 million project that rebuilt streets along the east side of Baisley Pond Park, the part of Lakeview Boulevard known as “The Lake” was finally dry.
Jacqueline Waal, Vice President of the Baisley Pond Park Block Association, grew up on Lakeview Boulevard and advocated strongly for improvements to the street.
“Lakeview has been full of potholes and uneven pavement all my life and it seemed as though nothing was being done about it,” said Ms. Waal. “We used to call it ‘The Lake’ in front of the Forbes house. Now the sewers are functioning and the flooding is gone. Now we want speed bumps and even a speed camera since with the new pavement people are driving faster.”
Junior and Verness Forbes have lived on the street since 1982. Before the project their basement would flood five or six times a year, and they would follow New York City weather reports while they were on vacation because they were concerned about their property.
“My son and daughter grew up not being able to come outside in their school uniforms without being splashed by water in the street,” said Verness Forbes. “If it rained for five minutes this whole place would be flooded, and the water would stay around for three or four days.”
“It got so bad that in order to avoid the water in the street the cars would drive up on the sidewalk in front of our house,” said Junior Forbes. “We’ve replaced our fence several times. Three or four cars a year would crash into it.”
“The ducks used to leave the park and be in the street because they couldn’t differentiate where the pond in the park ended and where the street began,” said Verness. “Now we have no problems. It’s been a total change, like night and day.”
“There was no sidewalk across the street,” said Junior. “Now when the water rises inside the park, the sidewalk and the grading holds it back and keeps it from overflowing toward our house. The work is great. The way we live now is totally different than before.”
The project, which began in winter 2016 and was completed in June, brought storm sewers, sidewalks and other new infrastructure to an area that had long suffered from localized flooding and poor street conditions. It is part of the City’s $1.9 billion investment to reduce flooding and improve street conditions in southeast Queens. The program, which consists of approximately 45 total infrastructure projects to be completed over the next 10 years, is the largest of its kind in the City.
More than 4,700 feet of new storm sewers were installed in the project area, ranging in size from 12 to 42 inches, along with 50 new catch basins to direct stormwater to the new sewers. Over 26,000 square feet of new sidewalk was installed at the edge of the park along with 4,000 feet of new curb. An additional 15,230 square feet of existing sidewalk and 2,350 feet of curb was replaced throughout the area.
The new local network of storm sewers drains into Baisley Pond through a new stone-faced reinforced concrete headwall with a 42-inch outfall. In addition to the headwall, the project included erosion and sedimentation control measures in Baisley Pond and over 5,000 square feet of wet and dry plantings and seeding, including species such as switchgrass, little bluestem and various wild flowers.
“DDC is working with DEP to manage almost $2 billion worth of street improvement projects as part of the City’s massive Southeast Queens initiative,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “These investments are making a real difference in people’s lives, securing their property, bringing them peace of mind and beautifying their neighborhoods. Queens residents have had overwhelmingly positive reactions to these projects.
The project also installed 815 feet of new sanitary sewers and replaced 125 feet of existing sanitary sewers. More than 4,470 feet of older water mains were replaced, 11 new fire hydrants were added and three existing fire hydrants were upgraded to new ones.
“It’s a lot easier to get from my house to the park now, with fewer puddles and bumps,” said Ms. Etheridge. “And once we get to the park I don’t have to push Harper’s stroller through mud because there’s a new sidewalk. We’ve been coming here a long time and this is a big improvement.”
The contractor for the project was P&T II Contracting Corporation. DiFazio Industries was the subcontractor that performed work inside Baisley Pond Park.
DEP and DDC recently began work on another $62 million southeast Queens infrastructure project in Rochdale, south of Baisley Boulevard.