Water Main Repairs Mean Homeowner Headaches
Water mains will be replaced at 13 different locations in Astoria, Joan Rivera, city Department of Design and community construction liaison, announced at the April meeting of the Community Board 1 district cabinet, last week. Community Board 1 District Manager George Delis, accompanied by comments from city Department of Transportation representative Peter Goslett, pointed out that homeowners along the streets under which the mains to be replaced run are responsible for the water hookups that connect city mains to their homes.
"I suggest you notify each homeowner along the street," Delis advised Rivera. "Homeowners should be aware that the hookups are their responsibility. They should also be aware that an old hookup can cost them money and it makes sense to replace the connection while the street is open for work on the mains."
Goslett agreed. "Homeowners on each block should hire a plumber to check the hookup. That way they won't get charged $400 an hour to dig up their driveway or sidewalk and put in a new connector," he said. Rivera said that homeowners were being notified through a door-to-door campaign.
Locations of the eight-, 12- and 20-inch mains to be replaced in Board 1 are along 20th Avenue from Steinway to 42nd Street, 20th Road from 36th to 45th Street, 21st Avenue from 41st to 45th Street, Ditmars Boulevard from 33rd to 45th Street, 23rd Avenue from 29th to 45th Street, 24th Avenue from 31st to 38th Street, 23rd Road from 41st to 42nd Street, 23rd Road from 29th to 33rd Street, 31st Street from 24th to 23rd Avenue, 32nd Street from 24th to 23rd Avenue, 31st Street from Ditmars Boulevard to 20th Avenue, 32nd Street from Ditmars Boulevard to 23rd Road and Astoria Boulevard North from 38th to 43rd Street.
Construction has been planned to take place in stages to minimize disruption and inconvenience to residents and motorists. Pedestrian access along streets will be available at all times, but vehicular access may be temporarily restricted. Signs advising necessary street closures or limited access will be posted. Parking may be temporarily restricted and signs will be posted advising of temporary restrictions. Driveway access may also be temporarily restricted. Some bus stops or bus routes may be moved or changed as well; signs and directions showing new stops and routes will be posted. Work will take place from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
Some water disruptions may occur during the project. If water is discolored by sediment released as new pipes are installed, the DDC advises running only cold water until water appears to be clear.
If turning off water service is found to be necessary, residents will receive written notice by the afternoon of the day before service is to be suspended. Drinking waters should be stored for use during the period of service disruption. Water service will always be restored at the end of the work day, but residents should turn off any open valves or faucets to prevent flooding when service is restored. Residents whose water service is not restored by the end of the day should call the DDC 24-hour emergency hotline at (718) 391-1000. The project is expected to be completed by summer of this year.
Goslett also told cabinet members and representatives of community service organizations gathered at the Kaufman Astoria Studios that construction of a railing on Vernon Boulevard at 31st Avenue would be initiated within the next year. He also announced that a bicycle lane on the north side of the Queensborough Bridge has been opened.
Victor Estrada, outreach coordinator for the Healthfirst insurance program, and his colleague, Umberto Femina, discussed the Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus programs. Children from birth to 19 years of age with little or no health insurance, who are not eligible for Medicaid and are New York state residents living in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Nassau or Suffolk counties, are eligible for Child Health Plus. Family size and annual income determine coverage costs. Coverage can be free or involve minimal monthly premiums which can vary slightly from year to year. Adults are eligible for Family Health Plus if they also are residents of New York state living in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Nassau or Suffolk counties, are not eligible for Medicaid and are currently not receiving equivalent coverage. Individuals over age 65 who are eligible for Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B and continuing to pay their Part B premium can take advantage of Healthfirst 65 Plus. "We're working to make sure everybody has health coverage," Estrada said. Among the 22 hospitals participating in both plans are the Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens and Elmhurst Hospital Center.
Workers in the tri-state area who lost jobs in the economic aftershocks following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and businesses and industries impacted by the subsequent economic downturn can avail themselves of the Emergency Employment Clearinghouse set up by the Consortium for Worker Education (CWE), Consortium representative Maria Serrano announced. The CWE, a union organization established in 1995, has a one-stop employment center in Jamaica and offices in Forest Hills, Serrano said, and anyone seeking assistance is welcome. Services offered include job placement assistance, career advice and education and training. Employers are also encouraged to use the CWE clearinghouse to find qualified workers. Qualifying employers can obtain wage subsidies as well. Job seekers can call (212) 558-2261 for an appointment; employers can speak to a corporate account representative at (212) 558-2250.
Rodolfo Sarchese, newly elected president of the Federation of Italian American Organizations of Queens, reported that the soccer fields at Consolidated Edison facilities are in need of donations to continue renovations. He noted that Assemblymember Michael Gianaris has contributed to the project and encouraged others to do likewise.