Pilot Program Aims To Avoid “Street Cuts” On Freshly Paved Staten Island Streets

Street cuts in Staten Island. Image credit: Staten Island USA.

Street cuts are still a problem in City streets undermining repaving efforts. On July 27, 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a pilot program to prevent so-called “street cuts” on freshly paved streets. The pilot will mandate interagency cooperation and coordination to prevent fresh asphalt being marred with street cuts. According to Staten Island USA, street cuts are the name given to the patch job done in the wake of underground work performed by developers, plumbing contractors, gas and electric utilities, cable operators and other entities that wish to, or need to work below the streets. The announcement follows the “Pave Baby Pave” campaign launched in 2014 that has helped repave many City streets.

Since 2014, the Department of Transportation has repaved 786 lane miles on Staten Island and a total of 5,000 lane miles in New York City. The Street Cuts Policy Working Group, composed of all City capital agencies, meets monthly with senior representatives from utility companies to share plans and coordinate work. The Department of Environmental Protection, responsible for the water systems, and Department of Transportation, responsible for paving streets, are coordinating their work implementing several practices like: DEP coordinating inspection and repair of its manholes and catch basins with DOT’s paving schedule and DEP increasing staffing, hiring seven additional supervisors to work with DOT to better coordinate restoration of City streets. The Department of Environmental Protection has also procured five manhole restoration contracts valued at $13.6 million with the Department of Design and Construction, with $2.75 million dedicated to Staten Island.

Elected leaders like Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, however, are still frustrated by the number of street cuts. Mayor de Blasio acknowledged this frustration and has called on the City to better counter the incidence of freshly paved streets being reopened for utility work.

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said, “I freely admit that I drive Staten Island at times solely to look for street cuts. This is how obsessive I have become over this issue. Why? For several reasons. They are literally undercutting one of the best things Mayor de Blasio has done during his tenure – our “Pave, Baby, Pave” campaign of historic levels of resurfacing of our streets. Street cuts waste taxpayer dollars. Street cuts rob our quality of life. Streets cuts are an example of poor planning, antiquated rule making, and a lack of coordination and collaboration. We can do much better.”

Mayor de Blasio said, “Street cuts annoy everyone, and we want to make sure they bother people after a fresh re-paving as little as possible. We have done more to re-pave streets across Staten Island than ever before, and now this program will help keep freshly paved streets undisturbed for longer. We look forward to continue working with Borough President Oddo on this.”


By: Dorichel Rodriguez (Dorichel is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2017.)


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