City: Bioswales Will Improve Drainage, Save Money

New York (CBSNewYork) — Some Queens residents say new sidewalk gardens aimed at improving drainage may end up being more of a bother than a help, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

The city is spending $2.4 billion to install more than 6,000 of the gardens, known as bioswales, throughout the five boroughs over the next five years. The gardens are engineered to extend five feet into the ground and can hold up to 2,500 gallons of rainwater.

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Matt Mahoney, associate commissioner for intergovernmental affairs for the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, said that alleviating the demand on the sewage system will save taxpayers $3 billion over the next 20 years.

But Pat Kannengieser, who said two of the gardens are slated to be added in front of her Middle Village home, said she is worried she will inevitably be the one left to maintain them.

“I see them also as catch basins for litter,” she said.

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The DEP said it is paying the Parks Department to maintain the plots, but Kannengieser said the city plans to clean the gardens just once a week.

She also said the gardens are not practical in her neighborhood because they will make parking more difficult. The fences that surround the bioswales will prevent drivers from opening their car doors, and they will have no choice but to step into the gardens when arriving at or leaving their vehicles, she noted.

“I support it in theory, but I think it’s missing one last step,” said Shireen Soliman, of Astoria.

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