CB 10 and City Island residents want flooding in PB Park fixed

Flooding near the entrance to Orchard Beach
Photos courtesy of John Doyle

For years flooding has plagued roadways in Pelham Bay Park, yet still the Department of Transportation has not fixed the streets.

In early 2020 before the pandemic arrived, John Doyle, president of City Island Rising, testified at an open senate hearing in the state budget about flooding on numerous roads in Pelham Bay Park and City Island. While he understands COVID-19 has wreaked havoc, this was not the first time this issue was dressed.

Three years ago, several City Island residents sent a letter to the DOT, Parks and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) addressing their concerns about the flooding.  The roads referenced were:  the on/off ramps off of the Hutchinson River Parkway (Exit 5) and Shore Road, City Island Road and Shore Road, Park Drive between Orchard Beach Road and City Island Road and City Island Road between Shore Road and Rodman’s Neck Circle.

“In recent years, a great deal of attention has focused on the condition and irrigation of Shore Road within Pelham Bay Park however there are also many additional drainage problems within the Park that have yet to be addressed,” they said in the letter in 2018. “These problems create dangerous roadway conditions from hydroplaning in more temperate months to dangerous ice conditions during the winter season that can lead to deadly automobile crashes. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see large and potentially perilous pools of water along the roadway after even minor rainfall.”

The entrance to Orchard Beach at Park Drive between Orchard Beach Road and City Island Road has become such a hazard that Doyle has dubbed it “Lake Orchard.”  He noted that it floods often and to “fix” it the city puts cones around the water.

Will it take an accident for the city to take action, he said. This is unacceptable.

Like many things in the Bronx, this feels like something that would not be ignored in other boroughs, he stressed. In the winter the potholes get worse as they freeze over.

Doyle pointed out that the flooding must be fixed as City Island and Pelham Bay Park are listed as Zone 1 Evacuation Zones by NYC Emergency Management, which indicate both areas are at high risk in a natural disaster.

“These kinds of conditions would never be tolerated in Manhattan,” he said. “I think the roadway is poorly constructed.”

District Manager of Community Board 10 Matt Cruz shares his sentiments. Cruz said the DOT had a site visit for “Lake Orchard” in September, yet nothing has been done.

Cruz explained that typically DOT says they lack funding for this project and it would take years to repair.

“We definitely want to see it fixed,” he said. “Ponding issues are prevalent throughout the district. It seems like the city never wants to dedicate resources to it.”

A DOT spokesman said it has completed a few interim repairs of potholes and roadway defects, however a long-term solution for this flooded roadway will need to be coordinated with its partner agencies, Parks and DEP.