NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s streets and sidewalks are not perfect, but not as poor as some claim, according to a group of concerned Common Council members.
Republican Councilmen Dave McCarthy, Jerry Petrini and Doug Hempstead and Bruce Kimmel, a registered Democrat endorsed by the Republicans this fall, held a joint news conference Monday to challenge recent claims about Norwalk’s road and sidewalk maintenance made by Democratic mayoral candidate Harry Rilling.
“We stand on the side of the city highway workers, workers who perform a valuable service for the citizens of this city and who do it very well,” the four said in their joint statement.
Rilling held a similar press event last week criticizing the current administration’s handling of infrastructure repairs and designs. Specifically, he pointed out “roads marked with potholes” and “neglected” sidewalks, and pledged to institute a plan that would improve response times to needed repairs.
“Norwalk’s infrastructure is in disrepair. From the roads to the sidewalks to the bike lanes, Norwalk needs leadership to address this continual disservice to our taxpayers,” Rilling said.
The councilmen, three of whom serve on the Common Council’s Public Works Committee, defended the city’s paving and maintenance program Monday. They note that Norwalk has put $5 million per year in town funds and $4 million in federal grants toward road work over the last five years. They also said that the city prevents road crews from cutting through pavement for two years after a repaving, except in emergency situations.
The councilmen also claim that the city’s pothole repair program works quickly when problems are reported to the Public Works Department, but residents need to report them since “we cannot monitor the state of every road in the city on a daily basis.” Residents can report potholes at the DPW website or by calling 203-854-3200.
“When potholes are reported by noon, generally they are repaired the same day,” the group’s statement says. “If later than [noon], then the next day.”
As for sidewalks, the Republican caucus members reminded residents that most of Norwalk’s sidewalks are the responsibility of private property owners. Of those maintained by the city, only one stretch along Center Avenue is in waiting for funding for repairs, according to DPW records.
Residents can also report problem sidewalks to the city online, and even in cases of privately maintained sidewalks, Public Works officials can notify the owner of needed repairs.