It takes the city more than a year to fix a sidewalk, audit finds

The city Parks Department works at such a snail’s pace repairing tree-damaged sidewalks that some homeowners have been left waiting more than a decade for them to be fixed, a new comptroller’s report shows.

Residents with sidewalk damage from tree roots first had to wait an average of 101 days just for agency foresters to inspect their property in fiscal year 2017, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.

Getting the city to then actually fix the cracked, crumbling sidewalks was even worse in terms of wait time, the audit found.

A repair on Warwick Street near New Lots Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn, was completed in June 2017 — more than 11 years after the original complaint came in, records show.

Residents on the block say they’re not surprised at the shocking lag because they feel the city treats them like second-class citizens compared to those who live in more affluent neighborhoods.

“It really just reflects what they feel we deserved,” said Frankie Charles, 24. “Would they really rather fix East New York or would they rather send the funds to some other spot they see as better?’’

Stringer’s 25-page audit also found that Parks is so backlogged with work orders that one request to fix part of a pathway along Blair Avenue in the Throggs Neck section of The Bronx remained unanswered after nearly six years.

Queens resident Margaret Colace, 88, said the sidewalk across the street from her home on 78th Street at Pitkin Avenue in Ozone Park still isn’t fixed after years of complaints.

“I use a cane to avoid falling or tripping over the cracks and roots,” Colace said. Park workers “have two speeds: slow and stop.’’

Stringer’s office reviewed all 11,392 service requests that the Parks Department received in fiscal year 2017. The department got around to fixing 1,069 of them, records show.

The average lag time between inspections and repairs was well over a year — or 419 days. That means that the entire process, start to finish, lasted on average 520 days.

‘‘A lot of people leave [the city] because of things like this,’’ Stringer told The Post. “That delay could be the difference between an accident and a safe walk or passage for a stroller or a wheelchair. We can’t wait until the worst happens.”

There is no city law on the books specifically addressing who’s responsible for tree sidewalk damage, Stringer’s office said.

But the city could potentially be held liable for any injuries resulting from tree roots, since the sidewalks are public property and the maintenance of trees on city streets is the responsibility of the Parks Department, the comptroller’s office said.

In 2017 alone, the city settled six related claims for a total of $1.3 million.

Meghan Lalor, a Parks Department spokeswoman, said the audit findings “represent a fundamental misconception of the mission” of the agency’s Trees and Sidewalks program.

“Repairs are prioritized based on relative risk to public safety and impact on the tree — not the age of the service requests,” she said.

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