City napping on mapping program

The Bronx is set to get some handy street maps —but something was lost in translation.

Local leaders say they are still waiting to be consulted about where and how the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) will install its popular WalkNYC “Wayfinding” program in the borough this summer.

“Why weren’t we made aware of this earlier?” asked Jose Rodriguez, district manager of Community Board 4, which covers much of the area where the maps are slated to come in.

Congressman Jose Serrano announced Jan. 13 that his office had netted $750,000 in federal funding for the free-standing glass-enclosed maps on the Grand Concourse between E. 138th and E. 170th Streets.

The snazzy maps orient pedestrians with a “heads-up” design, listing where “you” are and providing directions to nearby train stations, shops and landmarks.

Other boros first

DOT debuted around 100 wayfinders last summer in areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

But the Bronx versions of the maps were almost lost entirely, according to a Daily News report on Jan. 9 that revealed that DOT had missed a September 2013 funding application deadline with the Federal Transportation Administration.

A DOT spokesman told the Bronx Times that the popular maps would still reach the borough by this summer. Department representatives are expected to reach out to local leaders in the coming weeks.

Cary Goodman, executive director of the 161st Street Business Improvement District, said he’s been ready and waiting for DOT for months now.

“We’ve already created a visible schematic they can use,” he said. “But they have yet to raise the question with me.”

Goodman said he wasn’t surprised to hear that DOT had nearly blundered away the Bronx maps. As with many city projects, the Bronx again trailed behind the other boroughs, he said.

Citibike example

DOT also had as of last November no immediate plans to install its popular Citibike program anywhere in the Bronx.

“It’s a typical example of when it comes to the Bronx, things either happen much later or they don’t happen it all,” Goodman told the Times-Reporter.

Rodriguez, of CB4, said he’d be thrilled to see the maps in the Boogie Down —whenever they do arrive.

The wayfinders are meant to encourage walking and boost foot traffic for local businesses.

“It would help change the character of the neighborhood,” he said. “The commercial corridors could really benefit.”

Ben Kochman can be reached via e-mail at BKochman@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742–3394

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