Agencies squabble over I-95 weed cutting

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto is calling attention to hazardous conditions on the southbound exit of I-95 that leads onto Pelham Parkway West because a dispute between the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Transportation have left weeds dangerously tall, obstructing the view of motorists. Photos by Patrick Rocchio

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto called a press conference at the clover-shaped leaf I-95 exit onto Pelham Parkway West on Friday, September 19 after he observed tall weeds obstructing the view of motorists that had not been cut all summer due to a dispute between City agencies.

Benedetto tried to ascertain what agency was responsible for the grass in and around the exit.

After six weeks of phone calls to both the Department of Parks and Recreation and the city Department of Transportation, and neither agency claiming responsibility, Benedetto turned to the media for help in publicizing the problem.

“I normally try to work out situations like this with the agencies involved,” Benedetto noted at the press conference. “I have been trying for six weeks to get the grass cut at this location.”

Benedetto said that Park’s Bronx office had said it was a DOT issue, adding that they do not have the right equipment to cut the weeds. DOT, on the other hand, told Benedetto it was an item that Parks should handle.

“You talk to one and they say it’s the other’s responsibility and vice versa,” Benedetto said. “Meanwhile, drivers risk a potentially serious accident.”

With neither agency claiming responsibility, Benedetto felt it was incumbent upon him to push for action, calling upon the agencies to end their “petty squabble” and “just get it done.”

“To quote Rogers and Hammerstein ‘the grass is as high as an ‘elephant’s eye’ and it impairs the vision of the cars merging onto Pelham Parkway,” Benedetto explained. “The visual obstruction might very well lead to a terrible accident.”

Benedetto said that while he knew of no reported accidents at the location, as a motorist he has observed several close calls from both in front and behind him when using the ramp.

As of Monday, September 22, it appears that at least one of the agencies began to relent, and agreed to work with the other.

“The Department of Traffic and the Department Parks and Recreation are working together to address this issue,” said Seth Solomonow, a DOT spokesman.

Due to budget consolation meetings, officials from the Parks department’s Bronx office were not available for comment as of press time.

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