How to keep your 'hood from becoming one giant, icy slush puddle

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Slush Puddle Season is well underway in New York, and while pools of icy water at the curb are as inevitable as they are loathed, take comfort in knowing there's at least  something you can do to alleviate the problem.

If you live in a co-op, condo, or townhouse, your building can potentially get a $35,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection for green upgrades like precipitation storing "blue roofs" or "rain gardens," as DNAinfo points out. You can also work with your local community group or Business Improvement District to install (and seek out grants for) upgrades that will make sidewalk life easier. According to the site, the two best options are either porous concrete (which allows water to seep into the ground instead of accumulating around overworked drains), or something called a bioswale, a sloped drain surrounded by landscaping that also helps keep drains from getting overloaded with backed up water, with the added bonus of extra greenery outside your building.

Business Improvement Districts or community groups with extra cash on hand might consider hiring workers from an organization like the Doe Fund to help with extra snow clearance after storms, preemptively mitigating the buildup that will eventually melt into a sidewalk-block mess (an effect technically known as "ponding"). And even if you don't have the power to dictate building or neighborhood infrastructure and spending, a good ol' fashioned call to 311 always helps. "The more complaints you place, the more the correct agencies know where to go," a City Councilwoman told the site. Like they always say, the squeaky wheel gets dry feet.


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