That GreenStreets Pedestrian Plaza Outside Punjabi Deli & Grocery Won’t be Ready Until October 2016

Posted on: January 13th, 2016 at 5:00 am by

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The clusterfuck that is the East Houston Street reconstruction project is a pounding migraine that refuses to abate. Residents in the vicinity have, for years, contended with excess noise, street dust, and traffic bottleneck. But for the Punjabi Deli & Grocery, it’s had a negative effect on customers and bottom line alike.

Three months after presenting updates regarding ongoing infrastructural project, the contractor’s liaison Paul Kidder returned to Community Board 3 last night, but also dragged along the spokesmen from DDC, Con Edison, and Verizon for more detailed info. Unfortunately, the operative word of the night was – unsurprisingly – delay. Not only is the project delayed three years, but the September 2016 completion date previously provided was stretched again by another month. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s easily the third revised end date in recent memory. Blame more of the “utility interference” that contractors encounter each time the roadway is torn asunder (i.e. encountering issues with different agency wiring that needs attention).

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As previously reported, the GreenStreets pedestrian plaza outside Punjabi Deli (once part of East First Street) is complete. Yet the city agencies refuse to remove the staging area there, and make good on the promise to finally plant greenery and park benches. The excuse given was that the project wouldn’t be finished until October 2016 (one month past initial delayed end date), and they didn’t want to potentially damage the new plantings. This angered District Manager Susan Stetzer, who reminded the team that the community was promised a springtime planting, and that there’s no reason why the 100%-complete area can’t be given back to the public.

The multimillion-dollar capital works project began on the west side of Manhattan over a decade ago and reached the Bowery around June 2010. This was the start of Phase II, initially slated to last three years. Not surprisingly, the estimate was twice revised – first to December 2015, and most recently to September 2016

The project has gotten so out of hand that even now City Hall is finally paying attention. Each of the representatives present last night was summoned and given the directive to expedite.

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Other updates:

  • Some of the road restoration should commence by springtime – paving roadbed, establishing medians, and planting the beds. (Before GreenStreets??)
  • Con Edison is responsible for ripping up the roadway at First Avenue to upgrade the 30″ gas mains. They’re taking advantage of the open project, but won’t finish until the end of next month. DDC can’t continue until the utility completes its job.
  • You may have noticed that the Second Avenue intersection was also excavated to install more piping. That’s delayed due to the utility interference.
  • Member David Crane voiced concern over whether the plumbing of these planting beds (i.e. “concrete bathtubs”) will still drain the water. There is worry that overflows would flood the business that are below grade.
  • The community is sick of being held hostage by multiple staging areas clogging up the nearby blocks. The DDC was supposed to have addressed the situation back in October, but obviously didn’t.
  • The M15 and M21 bus stop east of Chrystie Street won’t return until the construction period concludes next October. The concrete roadbed, curb, and sidewalk must first be rebuilt.

Community Board 3 ultimately voted and carried a resolution that memorialized the concerns.

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