The Grand Concourse reconstruction project, which has been in the works since 2009, is about to head into its second-to-last phase.
That’s after members of Community Board 7 passed a motion at their board meeting Tuesday to provide a letter of support for the latest phase of the project to the city Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Parks and Recreation, and the New York City Council.
DOT Interim Bronx Borough Commissioner Keith Kalb said during the meeting that Phase 5, is the final design of the reconstruction along the Grand Concourse from Fordham Road north to 198th Street.
“It’s a narrowing of the service road with elevated protected bike lanes on the inner portion of the roadway,” Kalb said. “Basically the same exact footprint of what’s happening south of Fordham Road.”
According to information from DOT’s Phase 5 project outline, the current safety issues along the Grand Concourse include long crosswalks, poor median conditions, unsafe usage of slip lanes and service roads, double parked cars blocking bike lanes, and overall underutilized road space.
The design of Phase 5 will include curb extensions, wider medians with enhanced landscaping, raised bike lanes and crosswalks, updated signal timing and stop-controlled slip lanes.
Kalb said the motion for a letter of support was a “formality for funding” in order to move the project forward.
Construction on the ongoing project has been completed in sections along the Grand Concourse on and off for 14 years.
The Phase 1 revamp, 161st to 166th streets, was completed in 2009. Phase 2 from 166th to 171st was finished in 2017, and construction for Phase 3 from 171st to 175th wrapped up in 2020. Currently, the DOT is on track to finish Phase 4 construction this June, which spans along the Concourse from 175th Street to Fordham Road.
According to the project outline, the deadline for Phase 5 design is Dec. 30. Construction is slated to begin in September 2024 and be completed in September 2027. Construction on Phase 6, the final leg of the project, will take place from the southern end of the Concourse to 161st Street.
Kalb fielded questions from board members during the meeting Tuesday night, some of whom took issue with the reconstruction project.
CB7 board member Helene Redd voiced her concerns about the inconvenience the project will pose on Bronxites who frequent that section of the Grand Concourse — a stretch that she said is already prone to heavy traffic.
“It seems like it’s going to be a huge impact,” she told Kalb during the meeting. “You’re minimizing it. Because that’s the Concourse, it’s already congested up.”
Kalb asserted that while construction will always be a disruption, the impact is worth it. He also reiterated that crews work on the redesign block by block so as not to work on the entire stretch the whole time.
“Construction will always inconvenience the local community, which is part of the reason that we come here to engage with you,” he said before the vote. “So yes, there’s going to be an inconvenience, but the city is investing a lot of money on rebuilding this to make it a more livable city.”
Of the board members present, 29 voted to pass the motion and three opposed it.
Reach Camille Botello at [email protected] or (718) 260-2535. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes