When it rains in Pelham Bay Park, it pours, and then sometimes remains for days.
Local activists are voicing concerns about pools of water that are remaining on park roadways long after rainstorms end, encroaching on travel lanes.
Roads including Shore Road, Park Drive, Orchard Beach Road and City Island Road at various locations saw pooling water remaining after spring rains, sometimes creating hazardous conditions for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, according to park activists.
“Roadways in Pelham Bay Park often flood, sometimes in predictable places,” said Beverly Jones, an activist from City Island.
She cited an example of standing water on Park Drive between Orchard Beach’s entrance and City Island Circle that encroaches from both sides of the roadway, often forcing motorists to change lanes or even drive over the double yellow lines to avoid the deluge.
Standing water also hampers travel in the left lane of the road that extends from an exit off the Hutchinson River Parkway to Bartow Circle.
City Island resident John Doyle has reached out to the NYC Department of Transportation about roadways in the park.
The department responded to Doyle in a letter that stated DOT “appreciated the concerns raised and will make every effort to address the issue,” and that a case has been opened with recommendations by Thursday, May 30.
“We had a very rainy April, but this has been a concern for a long time,” said Doyle, adding there needs to be more investment in the infrastructure of parkway roads.
Since the roads would be used in an emergency evacuation of City Island, quality needs to be improved, said Doyle, with Jones adding that climate change is making a mandatory evacuation, like that one which happened during Superstorm Sandy, more likely.
On Shore Road between Bartow Circle and the county line, brothers James and Tommy Breen have cataloged the flooding conditions through photography and videography, and are advocating for improved infrastructure for this part of Shore Road.
“The area of Shore Road that is the biggest concern in warmer weather is near (Bartow-Pell) mansion,” said James Breen, adding flooding occurs in the location and that water will remain there for a long time.
Tommy Breen said that a curve in Shore Road very close to the Bronx/Westchester line is also a concern and floods often.
Flooding near the Bartow-Pell museum on Shore Road got so bad recently that one of two motorcyclists who were riding side-by-side in the southbound lane broke away and drove onto a pedestrian path to avoid the pooled water, said the Breens.
Recently, DOT placed cameras on Shore Road, to observe traffic conditions, said Tommy Breen.
A preliminary design for improving Shore Road in this area is scheduled for public comment at Community Board 10 in August, with a final design expect a several months later, said Tommy Breen.
DOT spokeswoman, Alana Morales, said that the agency would look into the possibly of including these park roadways in future capital projects.