Aug. 6, 2019 By Allie Griffin
A Glendale street nicknamed “Lake Edsall” due to constant flooding has been returned to dry land with the city recently installing new catch basins and curbs along the roadway.
“It looked like a lake. We called it Lake Edsall,” said Helga Weyer, who has lived on the corner of Edsall Avenue and 72nd Street for nearly 60 years and has had to contend with problem. “It was insane.”
Elected leaders and city officials held a press conference Tuesday on Edsall Avenue to celebrate the completion of a series of flood mitigation measures. The measures include the installation of four new catch basins, 160 feet of sewer and 676 linear feet of new curb that will better channel storm water along the northern portion of the street adjacent to the railroad tracks.
All together, the project cost more than $300,000 according to the DOT.
Weyer said the block would flood every time it rained and the water would never leave because there was no drainage. Her adult daughter Susan Petschauer who grew up in the home said there would constantly be about 12 to 15 inches of water.
All year long the flooding proved a problem with mosquitoes and mud in warmer months and ice in the winter.
“People would park here in the winter and their wheels would be frozen in,” Petschauer said. “They couldn’t get their cars out, it was so deep.”
Residents had gotten creative with ways to stay dry getting to and from their parked cars, from wearing tall rubber fisherman boots to creating a path of stepping stones through the pooling water, she said.
“It’s unbelievable how it’s changed,” she said, upon reviewing the upgrades.
Vincent Arcuri, Chairman of Community Board 5 which includes Glendale, apologized to residents like Weyer at the press conference that the upgrades didn’t happen faster. However, he added: “The cooperation between the DOT, DEP and the elected officials in the last few years really made it happen and I really appreciate it and you guys did a great job.”
The project began to take shape and advance after the city’s Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection joined forces with each other and local elected officials.
“This is a great, great event here that we’re celebrating when two agencies come together and solve a problem. And this has been a problem for a long time,” Council Member Robert Holden said.
The effort to end Edsall Avenue’s flooding began more than six years ago when it was brought to the attention of Assemblyman Michael Miller.
“It’s [been] a long time and I’m glad that we finally got to this point,” Miller said, thanking the DOT, DEP and other elected officials, past and present, for their involvement.
Both DOT and DEP officials thanked each other for the partnership “to solve a historic and very severe ponding issue that has plagued Edsall Avenue for more than a decade,” said NYC DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia.
“We are happy now, everybody’s happy. The whole neighborhood is happy, actually because everybody suffered over here really bad,” Weyer said.
The DOT will return in the fall to mill and pave four blocks of Edsall Avenue, ensuring the street looks “picture perfect and flawless come the fall,” Garcia said.
Why was DDC not involved in this project? Isn’t that part of their mandate, to coordinate multi-agency projects?