Sinking areas plague Dyker Heights shopping strip

Thirteenth Avenue between Bay Ridge Parkway and 76th Street in Dyker Heights has started to sink again, making the busy road more difficult for drivers to navigate.

Local resident Lenny Fodera notified this paper of the issue, saying that the city keeps putting blacktop over the area to try to patch the problem, but that it keeps sinking.

“I know that that area always sinks,” Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association, said. “It’s a long-term issue.”

Vella-Marrone described sinkholes as a perennial problem that has plagued the area for years. The sinking areas are paved over with asphalt, only to sink again later.

“The problem is the city has not put in the funding necessary,” Vella-Marrone said about the sinking streets. Vella-Marrone said that to finally stop sinkhole issues, the city would have to repair the streets through trench restoration, a process through which the affected area is dug up and then stabilized to prevent further sinking.

“The roadway has been in really bad shape for quite some time,” Josephine Beckmann, Community Board 10’s district manager, agreed. The board is also advocating for trench restoration, though Beckmann said the board is still unsure if the area is a good candidate for it.

The board has reached out to the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) about the issue, and there have been multiple 311 calls about the location, according to Beckmann, who said she spoke with DOT Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray about the problem recently. Beckmann reported that Bray said he was addressing the issue, and that the DEP and National Grid had been notified about the problem.

Sinkholes have been a major issue in various locations around southwest Brooklyn over the past several years. Among the most dramatic were one at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street that opened up in 2015 and took 13 months to repair, a 30-foot-wide by 10-foot-deep one that swallowed a portion of 79th Street (and a car) between Fourth and Fifth Avenues back in 2012, and a nearly-70-foot-deep one that opened up on 92nd Street earlier that same summer.

When contacted for comment, a DOT representative punted the issue to DEP, contending it would be the more appropriate agency to give comment on the issue, as the DEP deals with sinkholes. DEP Spokesperson Edward Timbers told this paper, “DEP crews will be inspecting the water and sewer infrastructure on the block.”


  1. This is a wide-spread issue. We have the same problem on 85th Street, behind Food Dynasty. Between the water main issues, sewer issues and delivery trucks block residents have numerous issues including the sinking street. The city only fills in the holes which is a short-term fix.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.