Friday, February 7, 2014
Who is responsible for plowing a community driveway?
I've got a good story for you, with many guilty parties - both city government and snobbish homeowners play a role, with hapless renters of course being screwed.
Over here in Astoria, there are a ton of alleyways. Household trash is picked up in these alleyways instead of out front on the street like most other parts of the city. Let's say you're a renter who doesn't have direct access to the alleyway - you have to carry your trash to the nearest alley leading behind your house and leave it behind the house.
Carrying your trash all over the way around the block is annoying enough on the best of days, but in the winter it is absolutely batshit horrible. Absolutely none of the homeowners shovel the alleyways. The city has the alleyways listed on their snow removal map - but they absolutely never plow them - EVER. I've lived over here for a good 10 years and have never seen a single homeowner so much as shovel the space directly behind their houses. There is no drainage at all - so even when the snow melts it just pools in potholes (that no one fixes) and then ices over so every alleyway is just a long stretch of ice ice and more ice. It is very similar to trying to walk around Willets Point - you have to watch your step and pray you don't slip and fall - because unlike willets point no one will see you fall and you could end up laying there for who-knows-how long for someone to notice. You could hit your head and die back there and not be found until the next trash pickup day.
At the very least, this is a large lawsuit waiting to happen.
The problem is that no one knows who actually owns these alleyways - none of the homeowners will admit it falls into their property line and the city never maintains them. I'm surprised the local trash men haven't complained to their superiors because they unfortunately have to walk and drive through twice a week collecting the trash. If and when they fall and go on disability, who's stuck paying the bill? You and I.
I know there's quite a few other neighborhoods in the city where trash is removed via alleyways - do they have the same problem we have, or is this just another huge example of astoria property owners who refuse to shovel anything, the city hall not giving a crap about Queens?
Do me a favor if you run with this - leave my name out of it since unfortunately I have to live over here a little while longer and have no desire to deal with these asshole homeowners in person. Everyone knows everyone around here. When you complain to them, they all pretend to not know English and then gossip to their neighbors at the local private social club.
PS: attachments: a map of where the alleys are, and of course photos. The map is of course NYC's plowing map, screen grabbed direct from their website. The red lines are where the alleyways are. There's probably hundreds of homes here where you have to go to the alley to leave the trash, and only residents on the first floor have access to the alley without walking all over to get back there...