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Pelham Bay parking plan to DOT

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If the Department of Transportation listens to Councilman James Vacca, Pelham Bay could add angled parking and new, metered spots. On Monday, June 15, Vacca sent an advisory letter to DOT, after an informal parking study.

The letter asks DOT to consider angled parking on the north/west side of Buhre Avenue between Hobart and Mahan avenues. It also suggests that DOT remove four un-needed “no standing” zones and create 27 new, metered spots.

Vacca staffers worked with Community Board 10, the Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association and the Pelham Bay Merchants Association to perform the study. It covered Crosby, Buhre, Westchester, Roberts, Pilgrim, Hobart, Jarvis, Mahan and St. Theresa avenues.

“The main purpose of our study was to spark new ideas for how to address a serious problem,” Vacca wrote. “Left unresolved, the parking shortage in Pelham Bay will continue to depress our commercial strip, encourage double parking and other dangerous practices, and negatively impact air quality by encouraging motorists to idle, circle and make ecologically irresponsible trips to shopping centers in Westchester County.”

Vacca recommends that DOT swap parallel parking for angled parking on a block of Buhre Avenue. According to DOT, no existing street in the heart of Pelham Bay is wide enough to allow angled parking; in the case of Buhre, DOT would need to convert from two-way to one-way or widen the street.

The north/west side of Buhre from Hobart to Mahan is one of the longest continuous parking strips in Pelham Bay. It boasts 21 parking spots – 16 metered and five un-metered. Angled parking would add 21 spots for a total of 42. According to the study, wide sidewalks, the absence of street trees and a relatively low number of infrastructural impediments make Buhre an affordable choice. Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association president Ed Romeo applauded the Buhre recommendation. He also expressed disappointment.

“I’m for angled parking, more of it,” Romeo said. “I think Buhre is a good start but we fell a little short. As for adding meters, I don’t know about that.”

Other residents have suggested that it would be better not to ask DOT for a handful of angled blocks; it would be costly to execute the curb cuts. Some believe that angled parking is dangerous. Romeo is for extensive angled parking, nonetheless.

“I am looking 10 years down the road,” he said. “It is going to be a zoo here. Angled parking is no more dangerous than parallel. We don’t get adequate funds because we’re not considered a high-need area. We need to ask for money.”

The letter recommends that DOT convert six spots to metered parking on the south side of Wilkinson Avenue, east of Westchester Avenue, to increase turnover and open the block to shoppers. It asks Bronx DOT Commissioner Constance Moran to estimate the cost and scope of the recommended work, and the number of parking spots to be gained. After Moran responds, Vacca will seek funding. He plans to share the recommendations with Pelham Bay.

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