Jay Patel has seen it before: a car turns off Jimmie Leeds Road onto Quince Avenue going too fast and –pop—their tire goes flat.
Only in this case, too fast is 40 miles an hour, the speed limit. The flat tire is the result of a manhole cover sticking up above the rest of the street. And to say he’s seen it before is to say it happens about once a week.
Patel’s lived on Quince Avenue since February of 2010. Within six months of moving in, Patel said he’d spent $1,000 fixing his car because the curb leading into his driveway was too high.
Like many people on his street, he set up pieces of plywood to drive up into his own driveway. When it rains, the plywood floats away. Parts of the road also flood and hold water longer than normal because there are no gutters. There are no street lights.
“I’ve asked the township manager and he told me the case was in court,” Patel said. “It’s been a long time. We are paying taxes here. Where does my money go? Why am I paying taxes?”
Many of the residents on Quince Avenue began moving into their homes in 2006, including Abul Sarwar.
“I moved here in 2006,” Sarwar said. “It was like this, but they said they would fix it soon.”
The builder who developed about half of Quince went bankrupt before the entire street could be finished. Half of the street was handled by a different developer, and one can tell the difference just by driving down the street, which is completely paved from houses 323-340.
The builder put a deposit with a bond company, which still has the money. On Tuesday night, March 12, Township Solicitor Michael Fitzgerald acknowledged how difficult retrieving the deposit from such a company can be, stating it may take a lawsuit to get it back. Council indicated it would like to see the process move quickly, and it was possible the township may front the money to have the project finished first and then pursue the money from the bond company.
The sense of urgency among council members is no doubt driven by a sense of urgency from the residents, at least in part.
Hamidul Haque recently took a drive up and down his street with Mayor Don Purdy, when Purdy gave him a ride home from his auto body shop. Haque had taken his car in to get work done. He’s had his alignment done three times in the last nine months, he said.
“I talked to the mayor, and he said within three months, it would be all done,” Haque said.
On Wednesday, Purdy confirmed that was the time frame he gave Haque.
“We want to see this get done,” Purdy said. “We’re definitely working on it.”
Quince is not the only street facing this situation. Down the street, Meadows Drive and Elton Lane are among the streets with similar problems, although residents in that area see it as more of an inconvenience than anything else.
“We were told it was a temporary thing,” Meadows Drive resident Wallace Reeves said. “We were told the builder was responsible for paving the road, but he had to sell so many units first.”
Reeves was not aware that the developer had gone bankrupt. He’s lived in his home just over two years.
“I haven’t seen any serious accidents, but it would be nice to get it done.”
“It’s not a big deal,” said Ujjaval Patel, who also lives on Meadows Drive. “The road just needs to be leveled off.”
For those on Quince, it is a big deal. Jay Patel and Sarwar spoke about organizing a petition to be taken to the township.
“I’m working two days a week,” Patel said. “It’s a tough economy and we’re all paying our taxes. This is not up to me; they have to fix the road.”