The presence of rats along New Utrecht Avenue – which allegedly originated from MTA construction work and has been exacerbated by at least one local business – continues to be a problem.
The MTA began excavating the area around support columns for the elevated tracks that carry the D Train from New Utrecht Avenue to Coney Island two years ago. Since then, many of the holes have become de facto trash cans that many say are attracting the large rodents.
A story in Friday’s Brooklyn Daily includes interviews with both a fed up resident and one store manager, who say the MTA isn’t doing enough to correct a problem that began with its own construction.
From Brooklyn Daily:
“At night, there are 30 to 40 rats walking down the block like it belongs to them. It’s horrible,” said John Lopez, who runs a bakery on 17th Avenue between 78th and 79th streets. “We’ve never had these kinds of problems before they started doing this work.”
“They told us that they were going to contact the Department of Health,” said resident Cathy SantoPietro. “We received a call three weeks later and they said that they didn’t find rats and they referred it to the MTA.”
But so far, the MTA has done nothing about it, she said.
“They should be handling the rat situation in one way or another,” she said. “We need to get to the bottom of this and someone should be liable to pay us back the $10,000.”
An MTA spokesman confirmed that there is a rat problem in the area, but wouldn’t admit blame, and did not respond to additional questions about what was being done about the scourge.
“We are aware of the situation. At this point, we cannot verify if the rodent problem is a result of work being done to rehabilitate the West End D line in that area,” said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.
An exterminator quoted in the article seems to think that litter and the practice of placing garbage bags directly on the curb rather than in cans may also be contributing to the problem.
However, SantoPietro insists that the problem of garbage had existed for decades before the rat infestation began.
Merchants and neighbors can do little more than wait for the only thing that may put a stop to this nuisance – the sealing of holes dug around the columns once construction work as been completed – which, according to the MTA, will be sometime in early 2012.