City to Pelham Parkway on ‘dangerous sidewalk’: Live with it

Live with it.

That’s the city’s response to an unwanted sidewalk along a Pelham Parkway service road that locals – now joined by the firefighters union – are calling a potential death trap.

City officials argue that despite the new four-foot sidewalk narrowing an already narrow street, FDNY firetrucks can still get through safely.

But opponents, including Community Board 11 and the Uniformed Firefighters Association, say different.

Besides having to lose already scarce corner parking spaces so the rigs can make tight turns from side streets, the sidewalk makes getting to fires at hi-rise apartments lining the roadway just plain dangerous.

Among their charges:

* Tower ladders now have no room to extend their stabilizers to keep them from tipping while trying to reach hi-rise floors.

* Firefighters can’t reach their equipment when compartment doors become wedged in from cars parked on both sides of the narrowed street.

Community Board 11 and some elected officials argue the four-foot sidewalk built out into the street from the parkland median side of the road was an optional piece of the Pelham Parkway rehab project and should be torn up, even if it costs $7 million-plus to do it.

The city has said there are any number of similarly narrow streets around the Bronx and rest of the city, and firefighters manage to deal with it.

But Ed Brown, Bronx delegate for the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said “There’s plenty of firetraps in the city,” citing the narrow streets of Edgewater Park.”They’d never let them build that today. They’re saying ‘Let’s build a firetrap today. That’s ridiculous logic.”

“They never did a fire safety study of the project,” said Brown. “If 41 Truck pulled into that block, and there’s cars parked there, somebody could die.”

But David Burney, commissioner of the city Department of Design and Construction, stated in a June 1 letter to Board 11 that after consultation with the fire department, neither his department or the department of transportation “plan to remove or relocate the sidewalk on the north side of the service road.”

“We totally disagree with the commissioner,” said John Fratta, Board 11 assistant district manager. “We’re still demanding that sidewalk be taken up. That’s the only solution.”

Fratta he is still waiting for a written report from both a second and third test the fire department conducted after a first test showed both turning and equipment door problems.

“God forbid there’s a fire on Pelham Parkway and somebody gets killed,” said Fratta.

“They’re already on notice that they created this problem. The city’s going to get sued.”

The sidewalk was installed in the $30 million parkway rehab project reportedly because of some federal funding involved that officials said required a sidewalk under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

But that has since been disputed as only an advisory issue rather than a required one.

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