This past wretched winter wrecked roads across Long Island, but on Colony Lane in Syosset pothole-studded streets have become a way of life—and an increasingly dangerous way of life at that.
Colony Lane was in such hazardous condition, that residents reached out to the Syosset-Jericho Tribune to help nudge the Town of Oyster Bay into inspecting the area and making the necessary repairs. After numerous emails and phone calls to town officials, the power of the press seems to be alive and well.
Shortly before this issue went to press, the town responded to requests for comment with some positive news: after Councilman Chris Coschignano inspected Colony Lane and decided that, at minimum, some repair work needed to be done, the town’s Highway Commissioner immediately sent a crew out to first sweep up all the loose asphalt. Then, following that street cleaning, an asphalt truck was sent to make extensive repairs, filling the potholes with hot asphalt.
Click here for more photos of potholes on and around Colony Lane.
A town spokesperson said that the councilman was contacted a few weeks ago via his Facebook page by a resident concerned with this roadway’s condition. The spokesperson said at the time the weather was still cold, so the necessary repairs had to wait until conditions improved.
“Colony Lane (as well as nearby surrounding streets) is certainly part of our evaluation for consideration of future construction,” said the spokesperson. “Now that the winter is behind us, our Highway Department can begin their annual task of road evaluation for future capital projects.”
But the patchwork pothole repairs are nothing new, according to Anthony Fulgieri, who has lived on an ancillary road off Colony since 2011.
“These patches do not last,” he said. “All that gravel on the roads are remnants from former patches that have come loose and created the mess. And it’s not just Colony, the whole neighborhood just needs to be redone.”
Fulgieri said there are craters throughout the area that the town has not addressed for a number of years. He also said that even the curbs are crumbling.
“I am always out either walking my dog or running so I get the opportunity to speak with residents in passing and everyone I spoke with has grown frustrated with the condition of the area,” he said.
Bordered by South Oyster Bay Road to the east, Colony Lane not only serves as a quiet, winding neighborhood road, it is also home to South Grove Elementary School. On a typical day, the stretch sees hundreds of children walking home from school, not to mention joggers and people walking dogs and pushing baby carriages. This makes the road’s appalling condition all the more foreboding, and infuriating, to longtime residents.
Fulgieri said Colony and the surrounding roads have been in need of repaving, not just patching, for years. Before this most recent temporary fix, he said he personally contacted the Town of Oyster Bay’s Highway Department eight to 12 times in the last year to report potholes, uneven pavement and a lack of crosswalk lines. The department did send a letter to Fulgieri in September 2014 assuring him that the department is “concerned and anxious to render whatever assistance is possible to resolve this situation.”
“The only way to understand how bad [the roads are], is to get in your car and drive it yourself,” said Fulgieri.
Taking Fulgieri’s advice to drive around the neighborhood in order see the degree of damage, the Syosset-Jericho Tribune took to Colony Lane and its surrounding streets and found it to be one of the most hazardous stretches in all of Syosset. The .8 miles of Colony Lane in particular is dotted by potholes of all sizes and depths, with large chunks of asphalt strewn across the road. Gravel used by the town to fill the holes as a temporary solution is kicked up by cars, making an already messy situation even worse.
To make matters more frustrating, said Fulgieri, crosswalk markers disintegrated long ago and the curbs continue to crumble.
“They occasionally come around and shove some asphalt in a pothole, but clearly we are beyond that,” he said. “I feel it’s disgraceful that [Supervisor] John Venditto touts TOBAY’s wonderful infrastructure as an excuse for levying a last-minute 8.8 percent tax increase.”
“I am not surprised that they patched the roads after getting your call,” Fulgieri told the Tribune. “My experience with the town is that they are well versed in the art of lip-service and [damage control].”
These repairs were long overdue, according to Dave Lynch, an 18-year resident of Colony Lane who has spent his own time sweeping up loose gravel from in front of his residence. But what Lynch and his neighbors really want is a full repaving of the road.
“It’s basically a main road. It’s a snow emergency route and it has a school on it,” he said. “Buses use this. Trucks drive on it. Why it hasn’t been repaved is beyond me.”