NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Residents of a Queens neighborhood are demanding Amtrak be a better neighbor and take care of its property, just like everyone else.

As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, it’s like a game of hopscotch for 8-year-old Clara Burke. But navigating the cracked sidewalk on 23rd Avenue in Astoria isn’t a lot of fun for her or her mom.

“When my mom had the stroller so both me and my brother could sit, the stroller every now and then would lose a wheel,” she explained.

The sidewalk under Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train tracks has been in disrepair as long as Burke has been alive, maybe longer.

“Oh 10 years, or something like that,” one man said.

Residents of all ages want it fixed.

“Whenever it snows, rains, it gets slippery. It’s dangerous for us,” another added.

“I think we should get a new one, because if older people with kids – if they go across it, they could fall and they could really seriously hurt themselves,” Burke said.

In New York City, property owners are responsible for repairing and repaving the adjacent sidewalks, and the city gives out violations to owners who don’t.

“This is Amtrak’s property. Take responsibility for it and make sure that you keep our residents safe as you’re passing through our neighborhoods,” City Councilman Costa Constantinides, of Queens, told Bauman.

This week, the councilman sent a letter to Amtrak demanding repairs.

“We expect you to be a good partner and a good neighbor and take responsibility for your property and maintain just basic safety standards,” he said.

“I know the sidewalk by my property – I have to pay for it,” resident Thea Reggio said.

Constantinides co-wrote his letter to Amtrak with U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley.

Amtrak told CBS2 it is in the process of reviewing in the Congressmen’s concerns, “as well as any potential next steps that might be required.”
“Our preliminary review indicates responsibility for sidewalk maintenance is the obligation of the agency that maintains the roadway – in this case, the New York City Department of Transportation. We look forward to working with Congressman Crowley, Council Member Constantinides and the New York City Department of Transportation on this issue,” the statement continued.

The city department of transportation also said it is reviewing the situation.

The neighborhood just wants repairs before 8-year-old Burke has to start teaching her little bother to play concrete hopscotch, too.

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