Community and business leaders in Waterbury-LaSalle are seeking to resurrect an old idea that could ease the parking crunch in their community.
The decades-old idea to deck over a portion of the Bruckner Expressway for use for parking, which the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association had called for in the past, is being advocated for once again.
Mary Jane Musano and Andrew Chirico, both of the WLCA and both Community Board 10 members, said that they have submitted a capital budget request to CB 10 for a potential decking project that would cover over the expressway along Bruckner Boulevard from Hollywood to Revere avenues.
The request was made as part of CB 10’s annual capital and expense budget request process, confirmed Matt Cruz, CB 10 district manager.
They have made similar requests for years, they said, as had a precursor organization to the Throggs Neck Merchants Association.
According to Chirico, the group also informed elected officials, via letter, that they were interested in the measure to counter what they described as many years of overdevelopment in the Pelham Bay and Waterbury-LaSalle communities that caused a parking situation in commercial areas.
Musano said that the addition of 21 classrooms to P.S. 14, expected to be ready for students in September 2018, is likely to make a bad traffic situation on Hollywood and Crosby avenues during pick up and drop off times on school days much worse.
The way things currently stand, sometimes school buses and emergency vehicles cannot pass near the school at busy times, said Musano.
“Now it is a safety issue,” she said. “The situation we are going to face is double the parents and school buses, and it is dangerous now.”
Musano sees a lot of potential upside in decking over a small portion of Bruckner Expressway for a public parking lot.
“It would help with noise and pollution, which the school community complains a lot about, and it would ease the parking situation, while providing access for emergency vehicles,” said Musano.
She added, noting that there are a number of vacant business along the path of the expressway: “The merchants along Bruckner Boulevard and East Tremont Avenue would be helped because we could put additional parking there.”
She said that she believes the extra parking would also benefit St. Benedict’s Church and School.
“I know it is expensive, but they find the money for other things they want do,” she said of the powers that be in the city, state and federal governments. “They should find the money for this because now it is a safety issue.”
Chirico said that the group is looking for a local elected official to advocate for the project and make it a priority.
Chirico said that judging by the area, he believes that it could hold upwards of 100 vehicles.
According to a Bronx Times article from 2009, a similar plan had been advocated for by a local business owner along Bruckner Boulevard several times going back decades, yet never came to fruition.
Bob Jaen, Throggs Neck Merchants Association president, said that generally speaking, he believes that lack of parking is a top issue, and anything that can be done to ease the parking crunch in the community would be welcome.