How many phone calls does it take to change a light bulb? Too many, according to Council Member Gale Brewer, who says she may hold oversight hearings to investigate why it took two months to repair a street lamp on West 95th Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues.
According to Brewer, the burnt-out lamp, in front of 123 W. 95th St., was discovered by a constituent and reported to 311 in October. On Nov. 14, with the street lamp still dark, Brewer’s office contacted the Department of Transportation and Con Edison.
“[S]hortly afterward, Con Edison reported that the lamp had current and awaited repairs by the DOT,” wrote Brewer in a Jan. 4 letter to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Con Edison CEO Kevin Burke. “We were then told contradictory information that the lamp had a Con Edison stop tag order and the DOT was waiting for it to be removed,” Brewer wrote. “Finally it was discovered that the light had an obstruction that needed to be removed before any work could be done.”
The light was finally repaired Dec. 23, but Brewer hasn’t let Con Edison and the Transportation Department off the hook.
“You shouldn’t have to call a City Council member to get a street lamp fixed,” Brewer said. “The frustrating thing is agencies don’t talk, and it becomes a he-said, she-said situation. The DOT is supposed to talk to Con Ed. There is a dire need for better communication.”
A Transportation Department spokes-man would not comment specifically on the matter, but encouraged citizens to continue to call 311 to report problems.
An official at Con Edison, John Mucci, wrote back to Brewer Jan. 22, explaining that the electric service provider and the Transportation Department have streamlined an electronic process for referring problems between the two organizations. Most repairs, Mucci wrote, are completed within two weeks.
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